Beltangady: Old versus new

02:07 AM Apr 05, 2020 | Team Udayavani |

Beltangady: BJP has fielded young leaders for the upcoming elections. In seven of the eight constituencies in the district, the BJP candidates are younger than their Congress opponents. Beltangady is one of the constituencies where junior BJP leader is running up against a senior Congress leader.


Congress’s Vasanth Bangera at seventy-three years of age is the oldest candidate in the district, while his opponent BJP’s Harish Poonja (35) is the youngest.

Vasanth Bangera, is contesting his 9th election, while his opponent Harish Poonja of BJP, is only starting out this year. In 2013 elections, Bangera earned 74,530 votes. But, in the last five years, the political scenario in Beltangady has changed. It is quite hard to predict who might emerge victorious.

Bangera has won five out of eight elections he has contested. His victory is not dependent on which party he belongs to. He has won on BJP, Janata Dal and Congress tickets. This shows his popularity in Beltangady. He has a charisma and has helped to bring in a lot of grants to Beltangady.

“The party and symbol is not an issue for voters of Beltangady. They only see whether Bangera is contesting or not,” a senior voter said.


“Of course, people are with me and have always put their faith in me during elections. I never did partiality in development projects and never treated any one on the basis of caste, creed or religion. After getting elected, I am a servant of the people of my constituency. I brought maximum funds to my constituency and there is no need for its publicity. People know it very well and they have themselves given publicity to me. I have full faith in them,” says Vasanth Bangera.

Congress is banking on Bangera’s experience in the field. Bangera himself lead his campaign team and gave directions to the party workers. Youth Congress and Mahila Congress workers are concentrating on door to door visits while other organizations of party are actively seeking votes for Bangera.

BJP’s Harish Poonja is a lawyer of High Court and President of Yuva Morcha BJP and Sangh Parivar. Harish Poonja has been active in Beltangady constituency in the recent years. Therefore he too is well known in the constituency. He has successfully connected and maintained a close relationship with the young generation. His active participation in various events of local youth clubs, social forums made him popular among the youth. BJP’s strategy is, if new voters and young generation of constituency backed Poonja, victory will be theirs.

“Bangera, who was then with the BJP, was young and energetic in 1983 when he entered politics.  People wanted a change and voted for him. This time too people want a change and are backing the BJP. It is not so much a case of being anti-Bangera as being pro-Poonja,” a senior citizen of Beltangady said.

“Being a Bunt community member, if Harish Poonja succeeds in converting Bunt’s votes into his kitty, we will win the poll with large margin. Union Minister Smriti Irani and Rajnath Singh have already campaigned for our candidate. Expressing their support to Poonja, thousands of supporters, youth joined the procession which was held on nomination filing day. After that, we are feeling entire voters of constituency are planning to bring a change. Definitely, Harish Poonja will give a surprise for thedistrict,” a BJP member said.

Political analysts say that this time people will struggle choosing their representative, since both the candidates are eligible to lead them.


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