Rahul Gandhi's image on 'Karnataka flag' triggers controversy
The Congress's ongoing "Bharat Jodo Yatra" has triggered a fresh controversy in Karnataka over the use of Rahul Gandhi's image on the "Karnataka flag." Several pro-Kannada organizations have reportedly criticized the party for using the former Congress chief's image on the flag. Notably, the flag—featuring yellow and red stripes—is unofficially called the "Kannada flag" or "Karnataka flag," which symbolizes both Kannada and Karnataka.
Why does this story matter?
- Congress's ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra is seen as an attempt to revive its position as the main opposition party in the country and strengthen itself internally and externally.
- Marred with controversy over many senior leaders quitting the party in the last few months, the grand old party's 3,570km yatra is expected to give it a boost ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
What triggered the controversy?
According to reports, many Karnataka flags were seen being waved during the Congress's yatra in Mysuru on Sunday. However, many of these flags reportedly had pictures of Gandhi printed on them. Notably, such flags were also seen in videos/images shared by Congress's official social media pages for the yatra, reports said. Meanwhile, the pro-Kannada groups demanded an apology from Congress for distorting the flag.
Gandhi's photo on flag is shame to Congress: Karnataka minister
"I condemn the photo on the Kannada flag," said Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashok. "When [Congress leader] Siddaramaiah was in power, he changed the Karnataka flag. That time all Kannadigas protested, prompting him to change it," he said while speaking to India Today. "Now, Rahul Gandhi's photo [on the flag] is a shame to Congress," Ashok added.
Gandhi's address at yatra amid downpour
Meanwhile, on Monday morning, Congress's Bharat Jodo Yatra resumed from Mysuru. To recall, on Sunday, Gandhi gave a speech in the midst of a downpour in Mysuru's outskirts, and pictures/videos of him speaking while being drenched in rain went viral. Notably, the yatra was launched on September 7 at Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari. It has now completed 624 kilometers and is headed to Karnataka's Mandya.
Sonia Gandhi to join the yatra on October 6
On the other hand, Sonia Gandhi has reached Karnataka to participate in the yatra on October 6. The Congress chief will be joining the yatra for the first time since it was launched. Given that the BJP-ruled Karnataka will be going to polls next year, this leg of Bharat Jodo Yatra in the state is significant for the Congress ahead of the Assembly elections.