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NDA announces meeting in Delhi on Tuesday Amidst Opposition’s Bengaluru Summit

BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda has extended invitations to these parties, urging their presence at the meeting. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders of the ruling party will also attend the gathering.

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BJP Manifesto Based on Groundwork, Not AC Room: JP Nadda
Photo:BJP National President JP Nadda

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is gearing up for a crucial meeting on Tuesday, as the ruling alliance seeks to demonstrate its strength amidst growing efforts by opposition parties to forge unity ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Simultaneously, opposition parties have convened in Bengaluru to strategize their campaign.

The upcoming NDA meeting in New Delhi is expected to witness the participation of both existing and new BJP allies. In recent weeks, the ruling party has been diligently working to form fresh alliances and win back former partners who had departed from the coalition.

Although the exact number of parties attending the meeting has not been officially announced, sources suggest that the representation will be comprehensive, encompassing all regions of the country. This gathering aims to showcase the expanded strength of the NDA, addressing previous criticism that the BJP had struggled to maintain unity within its alliance.

Having experienced the departure of key allies such as the Janata Dal (United), Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray, and Akali Dal, the BJP has successfully formed alliances with new partners. These include the Shiv Sena faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, the NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar, SBSP led by O P Rajbhar in Uttar Pradesh, Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) led by Jitan Ram Manjhi, and RLSP led by Upendra Kushwala.

BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda has extended invitations to these parties, urging their presence at the meeting. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders of the ruling party will also attend the gathering.

Several other parties, including the AIADMK of Tamil Nadu and Jan Sena led by Pawan Kalyan from Andhra Pradesh, are expected to participate in the meeting. Additionally, representatives from various northeastern states and other parts of the country will be present.

This meeting marks the first major gathering of the NDA during the second term of the Modi government. It underscores the ruling party’s commitment to projecting itself as the leading coalition partner in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, which are anticipated to be held in April-May.

Regional parties, even those with a modest but influential vote share in specific regions or castes, can play a pivotal role in determining electoral outcomes in states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

As the BJP strives to secure a majority for a third consecutive term in the Lok Sabha, party leadership has made pragmatic adjustments to accommodate new allies while also working to weaken the opposition alliance in critical states such as Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

On the other side, the Congress party has emphasized the significance of opposition unity, asserting that it will be a game-changer in Indian politics. Taking a swipe at the BJP, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh stated that those who once spoke of defeating opposition parties alone are now attempting to revive the NDA, which had faded into obscurity.

Speaking at a press conference, Ramesh highlighted the sudden resurgence of the NDA and noted, “Attempts are being made to breathe new life into the NDA. There used to be no talk about the NDA, and suddenly in the past few days, we are hearing and reading about it. Suddenly, it was reported that an NDA meeting has been called for tomorrow. So NDA, which had become a ghost, attempts are now being made to breathe new life into it.”

As the political landscape in India undergoes dynamic shifts, both the ruling alliance and the opposition are engaged in intense efforts to consolidate their positions and garner support ahead of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Karnataka

Karnataka Council Passes FAR Amendment Bill

Karnataka Council approves FAR Bill amidst uproar. Premium FAR capped at 0.4%, Transferable Development Rights at 0.6%.

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Karnataka Council Passes FAR Amendment Bill
(Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar | File Photo PTI )

The Legislative Council approved the bill enabling the sale and purchase of premium Floor Area Ratio (FAR) despite the BJP members staging a walkout during the session on Thursday.

Presented by Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, who oversees Bengaluru City Development, the Karnataka Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill 2024 received passage in the Council after its prior approval in the Assembly. This legislation permits developers to augment building floors by acquiring additional FAR through a fee payment equivalent to 40% of the guidance value, as sanctioned by local planning authorities. Furthermore, the bill sanctions the sale of FAR.

According to Shivakumar, the inclusion of premium FAR provision is anticipated to augment the revenues of local planning authorities, enabling investment in developmental endeavors. The premium FAR allotment is capped at 0.4%, with Transferable Development Rights limited to 0.6%.

The bill mandates that the proceeds from premium FAR fees be allocated towards land acquisition and the enhancement of basic amenities. Presently, FAR determination hinges on factors like road width, zoning regulations, and other pertinent parameters.

Expressing concerns, BJP MLCs cautioned against potential traffic congestion arising from the proliferation of buildings due to additional FAR. They proposed referring the matter to a select House committee for comprehensive deliberation, while some members advocated for an in-depth discussion before tabling the bill.

Shivakumar defended the legislation, asserting its simplification aimed at benefiting all stakeholders and bolstering the revenues of local planning authorities. He underscored that the previous BJP administration under Basavaraj Bommai had intentions to amend this law.

“We’ve introduced certain amendments to the law. Premium FAR has been operational in Mangaluru for some time now, generating approximately Rs 3,000 crore in additional revenue over the past six years. This amendment extends the same benefit to the entire state,” remarked Shivakumar.

However, BJP members opposed the bill and subsequently staged a walkout from the Council.

In addition, the Council ratified the BBMP Property Tax Amendment Bill, which previously received approval in the Assembly.

Shivakumar elucidated that the bill aimed to rectify an oversight from the previous government, which led to substantial penalties on property owners. He highlighted that the 15th Finance Commission stipulated the release of grants contingent upon property tax aligning with the guidance value, necessitating the introduction of this amendment bill.

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Karnataka

Forest personnel in Karnataka search for leopard, find dog

Forest officials in Rajarajeshwari Nagar were on high alert on Monday and Tuesday in response to reports of leopard sightings from concerned residents.

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Forest personnel in Karnataka search for leopard, find dog
(Representational Image)

Forest officials in Rajarajeshwari Nagar were on high alert on Monday and Tuesday in response to reports of leopard sightings from concerned residents. However, their efforts were met with an unexpected discovery. Despite the urgency of the calls, upon investigation, officials determined that the alleged leopard was, in fact, a dog.

Responding to multiple calls from RR Nagar residents who claimed to have seen a leopard in their vicinity on February 11 and later on February 19, forest personnel conducted a thorough search operation. However, their efforts yielded no evidence of a big cat prowling the area.

Even as some residents maintained night vigils in hopes of catching a glimpse of the elusive creature, no leopard was sighted. The situation escalated when residents of a local apartment complex shared CCTV footage capturing an animal moving along the road, albeit unclearly.

With concerns mounting, residents promptly alerted forest authorities, presuming the creature to be a leopard. Forest officials mobilized their resources for a comprehensive search, only to discover that the supposed leopard was, in reality, a domestic dog.

The incident highlights the importance of accurate identification and prompt response in wildlife management, even in urban areas where encounters with wildlife are rare but not unheard of.

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Karnataka

Karnataka mandates state anthem for all schools

The Kannada & Culture Department reversed its decision, now mandating all schools to sing the state anthem. Confusion stemmed from a “printing mistake.

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Karnataka mandates state anthem for all schools
(Representative Image:tclnigerialtd)

The Kannada and Culture Department, which previously issued an order excluding private schools from singing the state anthem during assemblies, has now reversed its decision. In a new government order issued on Wednesday, it has been clarified that all schools, including private ones, should sing the state anthem. Kannada and Culture Minister Shivaraj Tangadagi attributed the confusion to a “printing mistake.”

The issue was brought up in the Assembly by Leader of Opposition R Ashoka, who questioned the initial order’s intention of excluding private schools from including the state anthem, “Jaya Bharatha Jananiya Thanujathe,” penned by Kuvempu, in their assemblies. He expressed bewilderment at why private schools were being excluded from the purview of the education department.

Ashoka criticized the officials for such decisions and expressed frustration with Minister Tangadagi’s apparent lack of control over them. The BJP state president BY Vijayendra demanded an apology from the state government, citing a recent attempt by an official from the Social Welfare Department to alter Kuvempu’s slogan in residential schools as another instance of disrespect towards the poet.

Senior BJP MLA Suresh Kumar emphasized the Kannada and Culture Department’s responsibility to safeguard the Kannada language and questioned the rationale behind such orders. Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao downplayed the issue, stating that it was a minor matter that has already been rectified, but his statement was met with condemnation from BJP members.

Tangadagi clarified that the confusion arose during the preparation of the government order, where the term “all schools” was inadvertently changed, leading to the exclusion of private schools. He termed it a “printing mistake” and assured that it has been rectified. Law Minister HK Patil acknowledged the lapse and promised action against those responsible for the error. The latest government order issued by the department now includes all schools, irrespective of their ownership status.

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