Opposition parties use national flag as DP ahead of 75th Independence Day, but not the way the BJP wanted it

PM Modi had urged Indians to use the Tricolour as their display pictures as part of the Centre's ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign.

ByShilpa Nair

Published Aug 06, 2022 | 8:29 PM Updated Aug 06, 2022 | 8:29 PM

Indian national flag

On 2 August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi changed the display pictures of all his social media accounts to that of the Tiranga, or the national flag.

Ahead of India celebrating 75 years of independence, which the Union government calls “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, Modi urged everyone to change their display pictures as part of the “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign, a collective movement to celebrate the Tricolour.

Minutes later, social media timelines were awash with the Tricolour as Union ministers, BJP leaders, members of its affiliate organisations and many citizens changed their display pictures as requested by the prime minister.

Some of the Opposition parties too obliged. But with a twist.

DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin changed his Twitter display picture on 4 August. While the national flag is seen fluttering atop Fort St. George in Chennai, the picture showed late former chief minister M Karunanidhi, along with senior officials, walking down the steps after hoisting the national flag.

MK Stalin DP

New display picture of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Twitter shows the Tricolor and M Karunanidhi. (MK Stalin/Twitter)

Even as he heeded the prime minister’s appeal, Stalin used the opportunity for political messaging as it was Karunanidhi who fought for and won the right of state chief ministers to hoist the national flag on Independence Day.

The picture that MK Stalin posted was from 15 August, 1974, which marked a historic moment in India when chief ministers of states hoisted the national flag for the first time. Before that, the privilege was that of the governors.

In addition to recalling Karunanidhi’s fight for the states’ rights, Stalin’s display picture also served as a message to the Centre about upholding the values of federalism.

“Tamil Nadu has always stood for states’ rights. More autonomy and more powers must be given to the states. But the BJP is trampling upon our rights. This picture that the chief minister posted is a message to the Union government to restore the powers of the states and uphold federalism,” Saravanan Annadurai, DMK spokesperson, told South First.

As for the Congress party, which was at the forefront of India’s freedom struggle, it chose to put up a picture of Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister and architect of modern India, holding the national flag.

Posting the picture on Twitter, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said: “Our Tiranga is the pride of our country, the Tiranga is in the heart of every Indian.”

Apart from Rahul Gandhi, a host of other Congress leaders and party accounts also changed their display pictures on social media.

When asked as to why the Congress chose Nehru’s picture, Congress MP Manickam Tagore told South First that Nehru instrumental in introducing the Tricolour in the country.

Rahul Gandhi Nehru DP

Display Picture of he Congress’ social media accounts showed Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru holding the national flag. (Supplied)

“This picture that we are using now was shot when Pandit Nehru introduced the national flag to the Constituent Assembly. Although, during the freedom movement, it was thought that the then flag of the Congress party (tricolour with a charka in the middle) would become the national flag after India gained independence, it was Nehru who suggested that the country should have a different national flag,” the Congress MP said.

With the BJP claiming to be the one and only nationalistic party currently in the country, the picture chosen by Congress assumes significance. However, the party claims that it is not competing with the BJP.

“We don’t have to compete with the BJP when it comes to nationalism. The BJP is part of the RSS, an organisation that did not hoist the national flag for 52 years at their headquarters in Nagpur,” Tagore added.

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh also expressed similar views, and asked if the RSS, the ideological parent of the BJP, would pay heed to the prime minister’s appeal.

KCR DP

The TRS sported a picture of the national flag as the display picture on social media, with TRS chief and CM KCR seen saluting it. (TRS/Twitter)

“We are putting the DP of our leader Nehru with Tricolour in hand. But it seems that the message of the prime minister did not reach his own family. Those who did not hoist the flag at their headquarters in Nagpur for 52 years, will they obey the prime minister?” he asked in a tweet.

Interestingly, the verified Twitter and Facebook accounts of the RSS had not changed the display picture to that of the national flag, but instead had the picture of the organisation’s saffron flag.

In addition to the DMK and Congress, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) too has sported the national flag in its display picture, with TRS supremo and state Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao seen saluting it.

This was KCR’s way of showing love for the country, but not pandering to the BJP’s idea of nationalism.

Further, taking a jibe at the BJP, TRS working President KT Rama Rao also asked what was the use of changing the display picture (DP), when the country will progress only if the GDP changed.