Bengaluru:The opposition Congress played down its leader D.K. Shivakumar waving the flag of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) when he was on his way to the party office in the city to a rousing welcome on his return from New Delhi on Saturday, a party official said on Monday.
"Shivakumar has clarified earlier in the day that he did not commit any 'crime' by waiving the green-and-white JD-S flag, which was given to him by a supporter when he was going to the party office from the airport on return from Delhi. There is no controversy over the incident that occurred in a moment of frenzy," Congress spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS here.
A video clip showing Shivakumar holding and waiving the JD-S flag while standing atop a truck and returning it to a party supporter was shown in a local Kannada news channel on Monday. The clip went viral on social media.
Justifying the act, Shivakumar told a local (Kannada) news channel that many people meet him daily and give many things, including party flags, the state flag, banners and posters, which he receives and displays sometimes for their satisfaction or photo opportunity.
"Holding the JD-S flag is not a big deal as hundreds of my admirers, followers and supporters showered me with flowers, bouquets and a huge garland of apples, weighing 250 kg on that day. They even used a crane to garland me with it (apple garland)," recalled Shivakumar.
The 57-year-old trouble-shooter returned to the city on Saturday after being released from Tihar Jail in Delhi on October 24 by the Delhi High Court, which granted him a conditional bail on health grounds the same day.
The former state minister and Kanakapura Assembly segment legislator was arrested on September 3 in New Delhi and sent to Tihar jail on September 20 for his alleged involvement in a money laundering case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), tax evasion and hoarding Rs 8.6 crore cash in his flat in New Delhi.
The Income-Tax department sleuths recovered the cash in August 2017 following a search and seizure exercise.
Denying any controversy over the incident, JD-S spokesman Ramesh Babu also said that there was nothing wrong in Shivakumar holding the party's flag, as he was also a well-wisher of the party (JD-S) and it did not mean that he has shifted his loyalty from the Congress.
"Where is the controversy? It's a media creation. No one made an issue of it since Saturday. Shivakumar is a mass leader in Karnataka. As one of the prominent Vokkaliga leaders, he is beyond party limits.
"Our former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy also greeted him at the airport with several party cadres and supporters. We (Congress and JD-S) are secular allies and ran a coalition government for 14 months. We are not enemies but, friendly parties," Babu told IANS.
Shivakumar also clarified that he was a born Congressman and did not not profess divided loyalty.
"Shivakumar might have held our party flag because some of our party workers went to support him. It doesn't require a big analysis," Kumaraswamy quipped when asked for his comment on the matter.