With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielding Ranjan Gowda, 31, in Belthangady, the 2013 election is reviving the political rivalry between two families that began 30 years ago in the constituency.
Mr. Gowda will take on veteran politician K. Vasanth Bangera, who is in his late 60s, of the Congress in the May 5 elections to the State Legislative Assembly from Belthangady constituency. The senior politician had faced Mr. Gowda’s father and two-time MLA – K. Gangadhara Gowda – exactly three decades ago in 1983 and also in 1989.
But 30 years ago, Mr. Gowda was in the Congress – the party that Mr. Bangera now represents. In those days Mr. Bangera was with the BJP. Now both are in the opposite camps. In fact, it was Mr. Bangera who opened the BJP account in Belthangady in 1983 by defeating Mr. Gangadhara Gowda.
Both Mr. Bangera and Mr. Gowda senior have been party hoppers. Mr. Gowda had represented the Congress from the constituency twice — in 1978 and 1989 — before joining the BJP ahead of the 2008 Assembly election. Mr. Gowda had also lost twice in 1983 and in 1999 as a Congress candidate.
Mr. Bangera is a four-term MLA from Belthangady. He had won on the BJP ticket in 1983 and 1985 elections, and as candidate of erstwhile Janata Dal in 1994 and on the Congress ticket in 2008 elections. He had lost the election once in 1989 as an independent candidate before Mr. Gowda.
Mr. Ranjan Gowda, an agriculturist, is a law graduate. Mr. Bangera has completed pre-university and is also an agriculturist.
In seven Assembly elections in Belthangady from 1983 to 2008, the BJP had won the constituency four times, the Congress twice and the former Janata Dal once.
Mr. Bangera’s younger brother K. Prabhakara Bangera had won from this constituency on the BJP ticket twice in 1999 and in 2004. The two Bangera brothers faced election each other in this constituency twice in 1994 and in 2008 in which the elder brother Mr. Vasanth Bangera won.
In the last Assembly election the elder brother defeated his younger brother by a margin of 16,103 votes. Mr. Vasanth Bangera (Congress) secured 59,528 votes and Mr. Prabhakara Bangera (BJP) got 43,425 votes.