Congress leader D K Shivakumar has drawn flak from some of his party leaders for holding the JD(S) flag when he returned here from Delhi after getting bail in a money laundering case.
Shivakumar, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate, and in judicial custody at the Tihar Jail, returned on Saturday to a rousing welcome here, where besides Congress leaders, there were those from the JD(S) waiting to receive him.
When he was being taken in a procession in a flower-bedecked vehicle, a JD(S) worker handed over a party flag to him which the Congress leader received, waved it for a while and returned it to him.
A video of the incident has since gone viral.
A video of former Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah criticising Shivakumar for the act, in a private conversation, is also now in wide circulation in social media.
In the video, Siddaramaiah is heard saying that the Lingayats, a prominent community of Karnataka seen backing the BJP, are now distancing themselves with Lingayat strongman and Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, and the Vokkaligas, another dominant community, are disenchanted with JD(S) and H D Kumaraswamy.
Justifying his act, Shivakumar said, "... wherever I go, people give me a number of flags including the Kannada flag and people from all walks of life come to meet me. Even now there are three JD(S) MLAs waiting to meet me. Can I tell them not to come?"
Shivakumar insisted that holding flag was not a big deal as he has been "a born Congressman".
"I came straight to the Congress office, which is a temple for me," he clarified.
Siddaramaiah termed making the video of his private conversation an act of mischief as it was an internal discussion.
Seeking to downplay Siddaramaiah's criticism, Shivakumar said, "Siddaramaiah has lots of love towards me."
Kumaraswamy slammed Siddaramaiah for his comment in the video.
"Siddaramaiah is pure secular and we, who had supported him, are communal," Kumaraswamy sarcastically said.
"Shivakumar might have held the JD(S) flag because some of our party workers went to support him. It doesn't require a big analysis," Kumaraswamy said.