Ramanath Rai set to test his luck for seventh time in Bantwal segment

1:37 PM, Friday, April 6th, 2018
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ramanath-raiMangaluru: Having elected one legislator for almost half a period of its existence, Bantwal Assembly Constituency in the district will be in the limelight in the ensuing Assembly polls too as the legislator, B. Ramanath Rai, is set to test his luck for the seventh time.

Called Panemangalore till the 1967 Assembly polls, the constituency was part of Madras Legislative Assembly during the 1951 elections before the reorganisation of States. It has elected Congress legislators 11 times, including during 1951, while BJP legislators were elected twice and CPI once.

Mr. Ramanath Rai could have set a record of getting elected consecutively from Bantwal since 1985, but for the BJP’s B. Nagaraja Shetty who defeated him in the the 2004 elections by a margin of 5,296 votes. Mr. Shetty lost to Mr. Rai in the 2008 elections by a small margin of 1,251 votes even as Mr. Rai trounced BJP’s Rajesh Naik Ulipady by a comfortable margin of 6,385 votes in the 2013 elections.

Bantwal has witnessed rapid urbanisation over the years because of its proximity to the commercial capital of the coast, Mangaluru, and the Mangaluru-Bengaluru National Highway 75 that runs through it.

Rapid growth of the electorate consequent to the increase in population too has contributed to the growth of the constituency. While there were 61,546 voters for the 1967 polls, their number has more than tripled to 2,16,027 as on February 28, 2018. Bantwal constituency shares its borders with Mangaluru (Ullal), Mangaluru South, Mangaluru North, Moodbidri, Belthangady and Puttur constituencies, while it has Kasargod district of Kerala on the South.

Bantwal was recently in the news for the wrong reasons with clashes between individuals taking a communal turn last year. At least three people belonging to different communities were murdered at Karopady, Benjanapadavu and Bantwal town even as Kalladka town on the National Highway remained tense for a few months because of the clashes.

While incumbent MLA Ramanath Rai remains the undisputed candidate of the Congress for the ensuing polls, the Opposition BJP is yet to finalise its candidate even as Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) appears to be making a strong pitch to contest the polls. SDPI candidate Abdul Majid had polled 6,112 votes in the 2013 elections.


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