With the Lok Sabha elections looming closer, the residents of Belagavi are eager to discern their potential candidate for the upcoming polls, expected to take place in the coming months. Since 2004, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has clinched victory in the Belagavi Parliamentary Lok Sabha Seat. The late Suresh Angadi secured the seat in 2004 and retained it until his passing in 2021, after which his spouse, Smt. Mangal Angadi, narrowly maintained the position with a margin of merely 5000 votes.
Speculation abounds as to who will ultimately represent Belagavi in the forthcoming elections. Reports from The Deccan Herald suggest that Jagdish Shettar may emerge as a front-runner for the Belagavi seat. Shettar, it is believed, perceives a greater sense of security in dealing with the Jarkiholi brothers rather than contending with former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who currently serves as an MLA from Shiggaon in Haveri.
Citing insider sources, The Deccan Herald indicates that Jagadish Shettar, a former Karnataka chief minister who recently returned to the BJP after a nine-month stint with the Congress, is being considered as a probable candidate for the Lok Sabha segments of Haveri, Belagavi, and Dharwad.
“The party aims to introduce a fresh face in place of Mangala,” the source reveals. “Shettar’s name is circulating, given his familial ties to the Angadi family and his past involvement as the poll in-charge during Mangala’s bypoll candidacy. It is speculated in the Belagavi BJP circles that Shettar’s ascension may not only placate the Angadi family supporters but also meet with minimal objection from the family itself. Thus, presenting a mutually beneficial scenario for all stakeholders – the family, the party, and the district unit.”
Amidst this speculation, several BJP members have openly expressed their aspirations to contest from Belagavi if given the opportunity, with MLC Mahantesh Kavatagimath leading the charge. Others vying for the candidacy include Shankargouda Patil, Advocate MB Zirali, former MLA and current BJP district president Sanjay Patil, Mahant Vakkund, and Dr. Ravi Patil among others.
Furthermore, there have been murmurs suggesting the possibility of Shraddha Shettar, daughter of Smt. Mangal Angadi and daughter-in-law of Jagdish Shettar, is being fielded as a candidate from Belagavi. While such a move might seemingly appease both the Shettar and Angadi camps, it could also provoke questions among voters as to why an ‘imported’ candidate is necessary for Belagavi, potentially stirring internal discord within the BJP ranks.