MEA controversy: Is lotus the national flower?

MEA controversy: Is lotus the national flower?

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Dec. 12 stated that the lotus symbol included in new passports as an additional security measure was chosen because it is India’s national flower.

The statement, however, contradicts the Union government’s stand taken in July in Parliament. The government had informed the Rajya Sabha that it had not issued any notification on India having a national flower.

 

‘The lotus on passport’ issue

On Dec. 11 in Parliament, MK Raghavan, Congress Lok Sabha MP of Kozhikode, Kerala, questioned the presence of the lotus symbol in new passports issued in his constituency and alleged that the move promoted saffronisation as the lotus is the election symbol of the BJP.

On Dec 12, while addressing his weekly press conference, Kumar claimed that lotus is the national flower and clarified that other national symbols would also be used on a rotational basis. 

The controversy

On July 10, 2019, the government had announced that no flower had been given the status of 'national flower', in a reply to Shri Prasanna Acharya. This fact contradicts Kumar’s press conference statement.

Various government websites, however, have information naming the lotus as the national flower, which further contradicts the facts stated by the government in the Rajya Sabha and this has led to the latest controversy. 

The official india.gov.in website, for example, states clearly that lotus is India's national flower under the list of ‘National Symbols’. Knowindia.gov.in has also included the lotus under ‘national identity elements’.

So is lotus the national flower? It doesn't seem so but the final word on this is yet to be heard. Further information and a clear-cut declaration from the Central Government is needed to put this issue to rest. 

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