It is a tough fight for Cong, BJP in Belthangady

It is a tough fight for Cong, BJP in Belthangady

Vasanth Bangera (Belthangady constituency)

The stage has been set for a neck-to-neck fight between the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Belthangady constituency.

Billava and Gowda communities form strong vote banks in Belthangady. The Congress is confident of securing the Billava vote bank this time too, while the BJP is eyeing young voters.

Sitting MLA K Vasanth Bangera from the Congress is contesting for the ninth time for the Assembly seat. In 2013 elections, Bangera earned 74,530 votes, while his closest rival, the BJP candidate Ranjan G Gowda, son of former MLA Gangadhar Gowda, got 58,789 votes.

Bangera won five out of eight times he contested. In 1983, he contested for the first time from the BJP and defeated K Gangadhar Gowda of the Congress. In the 1985 by-election, he beat his closest rival Lokeshwari Vinayachandra from the Congress. He won in 1994 from the Janata Dal against his younger brother Prabhakar Bangera of the BJP.

His active participation in politics is a topic of discussion following his deteriorating health. Bangera has himself said that the 2018 elections will be his last.

Harish Poonja, the BJP candidate, is making his first-ever candidature in Assembly elections. Poonja has been getting in touch with people of the grass-roots level, which has made him popular among the masses, particularly the youth. Also, he is a prominent figure among the religious fraternity. Poonja and Bangera has been the chairpersons of the Brahmakalashothsava committees in a number of temples.

Confrontation of siblings

Belthangady is an interesting constituency, where siblings got into electoral confrontation.

Vasanth Bangera’s younger brother Prabhakar Bangera came face-to-face in elections in 1994 and 2008 Assembly elections. In 1994, Vasanth Bangera contested from the Janata Dal, and, in 2008, from the Congress. Prabhakar Bangera remained in the BJP, but could not win against his elder brother. In 1999 and 2004, he won against Gangadhar Gowda K and Harish Kumar K, respectively. Prabhakar Bangera has been a two-time MLA, in 2004 and 2008.

For the two brothers, it is only an ideological confrontation and not a personal one, as they have maintained a cordial relation.


Major contenders in fray

K Vasanth Bangera (INC)

Harish Poonja (BJP)


Total number of voters: 2,18,880

Men: 1,09,372

Women: 1,09,507

Transgender: 1


2013 Assembly results

Votes cast:1,46,325

Vasanth Bangera (INC): 74,530 votes

Ranjan G Gowda (BJP): 58,789 votes