Days after the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had announced that it would celebrate the 75th Independence Day by hoisting the Indian Tricolour for the first time, it soon became mired in controversies on Sunday (August 15).
The Kerala unit of the CPI(M) had hoisted the Indian flag at the party headquarters at AKG Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. The celebrations were led by party Secretary A Vijayaraghavan. Soon after, ex-Congress leader Sabarinadhan KS alleged that the flag was hoisted at the same height as that of the Communist Party flag.
He stated that the party leaders must be booked for violating the Flag Code. It is interesting to note that the Flag Code[pdf] makes it clear that no other flag should be placed higher above the Indian Tricolour (in its vicinity).
In a Facebook post, he said, “The party Secretary hoisted the national flag at the AKG Centre, but in a way of humiliating the national flag. As clearly mentioned in the National Flag Code, no other flag or bunting should be placed higher than or above side by side with the National Flag…It’s an outright violation of law that happened at the AKG Centre. The party flag has been given prominence over the national flag,” Sabarinadhan’s post read. However, according to The News Minute, the CPI (M) flag was below the national flag in height.
Earlier, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President (KPCC) President K Sudhakaran had criticised the move of the CPI(M) to hoist the tricolour on the occasion of India’s 75th Independence Day. Sudhakaran had remarked, “Those who celebrate Independence Day now are those who had propagated that August 15 was a danger…The party which used to call August 15 as Apathu 15 (Danger 15) has now started hoisting the national flag. I’m happy that CPM has recognised the legacy of Congress.
CPM is an organisation that rejected Gandhiji. They should show the gumption to accept mistakes of the past.”
CPI (M) defends decision, claims major role in Indian Independence Movement
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala had also dubbed the decision as ‘delayed wisdom.’ In its defence, CPIM leader MA Baby claimed, “It was the Communists who first demanded freedom for the country. This is the 75th anniversary of Independence. CPI(M), in the past too, has been part of the celebrations with the DYFI (Democratic Youth Federation of India, the party’s youth wing), organising events with mass people’s participation. It was P Krishna Pillai, the then State Secretary, who hoisted the national flag on the Day of Independence. On that day AK Gopalan was in jail.” CPI (M) State Secretary had also attacked KPCC President Sudhakaran alleging that he was ignorant about the Communists’ role in the Indian Independence Movement.
It is notable here that in Kerala, Congress and CPIM are locked in bitter political rivalry. However, at the national level, and even in other states, they are staunch supporters of each other. In recently concluded assembly elections, Congress and CPM were against each other just in Kerala, while in Bengal they had formed an alliance.