Mallikarjun Kharge

Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge (born 21 July 1942) is an Indian politician, who is the current president of the Indian National Congress,[1] and Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from Karnataka since 16 February 2021. He became the first person outside the Nehru–Gandhi family to be the president of the party after 24 years. He was also Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha from 16 February 2021 to 1 October 2022.[2] He was the Former Minister of Railways and Minister of Labour and Employment in the Government of India. Kharge was a Member of Parliament for Gulbarga, Karnataka from 2009 to 2019.

Mallikarjun Kharge
Mallikarjun Kharge Official Portrail, Government of India.jpg
President of the Indian National Congress
Assumed office
26 October 2022
Preceded bySonia Gandhi
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha
In office
16 February 2021 – 1 October 2022
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
Preceded byGhulam Nabi Azad
Leader of Indian National Congress, Lok Sabha
In office
4 June 2014 – 16 June 2019
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
Preceded bySushilkumar Shinde
Succeeded byAdhir Ranjan Chowdhury
Chairperson of Public Accounts Committee
In office
2016–2019
Appointed bySumitra Mahajan (Lok Sabha Speaker)
Preceded byK V Thomas
Succeeded byAdhir Ranjan Chowdhury
Minister of Railways
In office
17 June 2013 – 26 May 2014
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byC. P. Joshi
Succeeded byD. V. Sadananda Gowda
Minister of Labour and Employment
In office
29 May 2009 – 16 June 2013
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byOscar Fernandes
Succeeded bySis Ram Ola
Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly
In office
19 December 1996 – 7 July 1999
Preceded byB. S. Yediyurappa
Succeeded byJagadish Shettar
In office
5 June 2008 – 28 May 2009
Preceded byN. Dharam Singh
Succeeded bySiddaramaiah
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
Assumed office
12 June 2020
Preceded byRajeev Gowda
ConstituencyKarnataka
General Secretary of
AICC and Incharge for Maharashtra
In office
22 June 2018 – 11 September 2020
Preceded byPosition Created
Succeeded byH. K. Patil
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
31 May 2009 – 23 May 2019
Preceded byIqbal Ahmed Saradgi
Succeeded byUmesh. G. Jadhav
ConstituencyGulbarga
President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee
In office
2005–2008
Preceded byJanardhana Poojary
Succeeded byR. V. Deshpande
Member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, Karnataka
In office
1972–2008
Preceded byN. Yenkappa
Succeeded byBaburao Chinchansur
ConstituencyGurmitkal
In office
2008–2009
Preceded byVishwanath Patil Hebbal
Succeeded byValmiki Naik
ConstituencyChittapur
Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Karnataka
In office
1999–2004
Chief MinisterS. M. Krishna
Minister of Rural Development, Government of Karnataka
In office
1978–1980
In office
1990–1992
Personal details
Born (1942-07-21) 21 July 1942 (age 80)
Warwatti, Hyderabad State, British India
(present-day Karnataka, India)
Political partyIndian National Congress
Spouse
Radhabai Kharge
(m. 1968)
Children5
Alma materGovernment College, Gulbarga
Gulbarga University

He is a senior Karnataka politician and was the Leader of opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. He was the President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee during the 2008 Karnataka State Assembly Elections.

He has won elections a record 10 consecutive times having won the Assembly elections an unprecedented 9 consecutive times (1972, 1978, 1983, 1985, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2008, 2009) . Mallikarjun Kharge was the leader of the congress party in Lok Sabha during 2014–2019. He defeated Shashi Tharoor in the 2022 Indian National Congress presidential election.

Early life and backgroundEdit

Mallikarjun Kharge was born in the Varawatti, Bhalki Taluk, Bidar district, Karnataka to a Dalit caste family.[3][4] In 1948, Kharge lost his mother and sister in a fire set off by the Razakars or the private militia of the Nizam of Hyderabad, while he himself had a narrow escape at the age of 7.[5][6] He finished his schooling from Nutan Vidyalaya in Gulbarga and went on to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Government College, Gulbarga and his law degree from the Seth Shankarlal Lahoti Law College in Gulbarga.[4] He started his legal practice as a junior in Justice Shivaraj Patil's office and fought cases for labour unions early in his legal career.[7]

Political careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Kharge started his political career as a student union leader while in the Government College, Gulbarga when he was elected as the General Secretary of the students' body. In 1969, he became the legal advisor to the MSK Mills Employees' Union. He was also an influential labour union leader of Samyukta Majdoor Sangha and led many agitations fighting for the rights of labourers.[8] In 1969, he joined the Indian National Congress and became President of the Kalaburagi Town Congress Committee. [9]

Rise in Karnataka's political sceneEdit

He first contested the Karnataka State Assembly elections in 1972 and won from Gurmitkal constituency. In 1973, he was appointed the Chairman of the Octroi Abolition Committee which went into the question of revitalising the economy of the municipal and civic bodies in the state of Karnataka. Based on its report, the then Devaraj Urs government abolished the levy of octroi at multiple points.[10] In 1974, he was appointed the Chairman of state-owned Leather Development Corporation and worked to improve the living conditions of thousands of cobblers who were indulging in the leather tanning industry. Work sheds cum residences were built across the state for their benefit during this time. In 1976, he was appointed the Minister of State for Primary Education, during which time, over 16,000 backlog vacancies of SC/STs teachers were filled up by recruiting them directly into the service. Grants under grant-in-aid code were given to schools run by SC/ST managements for the first time.[11]

In 1978, he was elected for the second time as MLA from Gurmitkal constituency and was appointed Minister of State for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj in the Devaraj Urs ministry. In 1980, he became the Minister for Revenue in the Gundu Rao Cabinet. During this time, the focus was on effective land reforms, resulting in giving occupancy rights to millions of land-less tillers and labourers. More than 400 land tribunals were constituted to expedite the transfer of land rights to the tillers.[12] In 1983, he was elected for the third time to the Karnataka Assembly from Gurmitkal. In 1985, he was elected for the fourth time to the Karnataka Assembly from Gurmitkal and was appointed the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly.

In 1989, he was elected for the fifth time to the Karnataka Assembly from Gurmitkal. In 1990, he joined Bangarappa’s Cabinet as the Minister for Revenue, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, portfolios he had held earlier and brought about significant change. Restarting the Land Reforms process that had stopped in the interim, resulted in hundreds of thousands of acres of land being registered in the name of the landless tillers.[13]

Between 1992 and 1994, he was the Minister for Co-operation, Medium and Large Industries in the Veerappa Moily Cabinet. In 1994, he was elected for the sixth time to the Karnataka Assembly from Gurmitkal and became the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly. In 1999, he was elected for the seventh time to the Karnataka Assembly and was a front-runner to the post of Chief Minister of Karnataka. He became Minister for Home in the S. M. Krishna Cabinet during a particularly trying time for Karnataka especially the Rajkumar kidnap by the notorious poacher Veerappan and the Cauvery Riots. In 2004, he was elected for the eighth consecutive time to the Karnataka Assembly and was once again considered a front-runner to the post of the Chief Minister of Karnataka. He became the Minister for Transport and Water Resources in the Dharam Singh-led coalition government.

In 2005, he was appointed the President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. In the Panchayat elections held soon after, Congress won the largest number of seats compared to BJP and JD(S) indicating a revival of the Congress fortunes in the rural areas of Karnataka.[14] In 2008, he was elected for the record ninth consecutive time to the Assembly from Chitapur. Though the Congress party put up a better show when compared to the 2004 elections, the Congress lost the elections with a majority of the senior leaders losing. He was appointed the Leader of the Opposition for the second time in 2008.

National PoliticsEdit

In 2009, Kharge contested the general elections from Gulbarga Parliamentary Constituency and won his tenth consecutive election.[15]

In the 2014 general elections, Kharge contested and won from the Gulbarga parliamentary seat, beating Revunaik Belamagih from the BJP with a margin of 74,737 votes.[16] In June, he was appointed the Leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha.[17]

In the 2019 general elections, Kharge contested from the same parliamentary seat, however this time he lost to Dr. Umesh G. Jadhav from the BJP with a margin of 95,452 votes.[16]

On 12 June 2020 Kharge was elected (unopposed) to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, at the age of 78 years.[18] On 12 February 2021, Kharge was appointed Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha.[19]

Kharge notably has been appointed as an observer by the INC for multiple states in the past, including Assam in 2014, Punjab in 2021, and Rajasthan in 2022. [20] He has been criticized for his alleged inability to resolve internal party issues in these three states and therefore causing the loss in Assam and Punjab, and public embarrassment in Rajasthan. [20]

On October 1st 2022, he resigned from the post of LoP in order to contest the INC party presidential polls.[21] He was opposed by Shashi Tharoor and won with 7897 votes. [22] He was the first INC President not from the Gandhi family in 24 years. [23] Kharge was widely viewed by many sections of the media, public intellectuals and former Congress members as the "Gandhi-approved" candidate.[9][24][25]

Electoral PerformancesEdit

Year Election Party Constituency Name Result Votes gained Vote share% Margin Ref
1972 Karnataka Legislative Assembly INC  Gurmitkal Won 16,796 62.68%% 9,440 [26]
1978 Karnataka Legislative Assembly Gurmitkal Won 30,380 64.99% 16,599 [26]
1983 Karnataka Legislative Assembly Gurmitkal Won 30,933 67.65% 16,143 [26]
1985 Karnataka Legislative Assembly Gurmitkal Won 32,669 66% 17,673 [26]
1989 Karnataka Legislative Assembly Gurmitkal Won 39,608 64.23% 19,969 [26]
1994 Karnataka Legislative Assembly Gurmitkal Won 42,588 58.76% 19,336 [26]
1999 Karnataka Legislative Assembly Gurmitkal Won 54,569 76.76% 47,124 [26]
2004 Karnataka Legislative Assembly Gurmitkal Won 37,006 45.99% 18,547 [26]
2008 Karnataka Legislative Assembly Chittapur Won 49,837 52.13% 17,442 [27]
2009 15th Lok Sabha Gulbarga Won 3,45,241 45.46% 13,404 [28]
2014 16th Lok Sabha Gulbarga Won 5,07,193 50.83% 74,733 [28]
2019 17th Lok Sabha Gulbarga Lost 5,24,740 44.08% 95,452 [28]
2022 President of the Indian National Congress n/a Won 7,897 83.12% 6,725 [29]

Positions heldEdit

Year Description
1972 - 1978 Elected to 5th Karnataka Assembly (1st Term)
  • Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education (1976-1978)
1978 - 1983 Elected to 6th Karnataka Assembly (2nd Term)
  • Cabinet Minister for Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (1979-1980)
  • Cabinet Minister for Revenue (1980-83)
1983 - 1985 Elected to 7th Karnataka Assembly (3rd Term)
  • Secretary, Congress Legislature Party
1985 - 1989 Elected to 8th Karnataka Assembly (4th Term)
  • Deputy Leader of Opposition
1989 - 1994 Elected to 9th Karnataka Assembly (5th Term)
  • Cabinet Minister for Revenue, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (1990-1992)
  • Cabinet Minister for Co-operation, Medium and Large Industries (1992-1994)
1994 - 1999 Elected to 10th Karnataka Assembly (6th Term)
  • Leader of Opposition (1996-99)
1999 - 2004 Elected to 11th Karnataka Assembly (7th Term)
  • Cabinet Minister for Home, Infrastructure Development and Minor Irrigation (1999-2004)
2004 - 2008 Elected to 12th Karnataka Assembly (8th Term)
  • Cabinet Minister for Water Resources and Transport (2004-2006)
2008 - 2009 Elected to 13th Karnataka Assembly (9th Term)
  • Leader of Opposition (2008-2009)
2009 - 2014 Elected to 15th Lok Sabha (1st Term)
  • Union Minister for Labour and Employment (31 May 2009 - 17 June 2013)
  • Union Minister for Railways and Social Justice and Empowerment (17 June 2013-26 May 2014)
2014 - 2019 Elected to 16th Lok Sabha (2nd Term)
  • Leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party
  • Member, Business Advisory Committee (2014 - 2019)
  • Member, Standing Committee on Home Affairs (2014 - 2019)
  • Member, Joint Parliamentary Committee on Maintenance of Heritage Character and Development of Parliament House Complex (2014 - 2019)
  • Member of National Committee (NC) for commemorating the 125th Birth Anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (2014 - 2019)
  • Member, General Purposes Committee (2015 - 2019)
  • Member, Consultative Committee, Ministry of Defence (2015 - 2019)
  • Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee (2017 - 2019)
  • Member, Committee on Budget of Lok Sabha (2017 - 2019)
2020 - Present Elected to Rajya Sabha (1st Term)

Personal lifeEdit

Kharge married Radhabai on 13 May 1968 and has two daughters and three sons.[4][30] Kharge is a polyglot, claiming to be fluent in English, Hindi, Urdu, Kannada and Marathi.[9] His son Priyank Kharge is an MLA from the Chittapur assembly constituency.[5]

He is the Founder-Chairman of Siddharth Vihar Trust that has built the Buddha Vihar in Gulbarga, India.[31] He is also a patron of the Chowdiah Memorial Hall, a concert and theater venue in Bangalore. He helped the centre get over its debts and aided the centre's plans for renovation.[32]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Kharge, who started as labour leader, becomes new Congress chief by beating Tharoor who speaks fine English". India Today. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  2. ^ "Congress names Mallikarjun Kharge for leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha". The Times of India. 12 February 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  3. ^ Prabhu, Nagesh (30 September 2022). "Mallikarjun Kharge's possible elevation could be asset to Congress ahead of 2023 Karnataka Assembly polls". The Hindu.
  4. ^ a b c "Detailed Profile". Government of India. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Escaping Blaze at 7 to Congress Chief at 80 Mallikarjun Kharges Firefighting Continues Son Recounts Journey for News18". 19 October 2022.
  6. ^ "Mallikarjun Kharge officially takes charge as 1st non-Gandhi Congress president after 24 years". 26 October 2022.
  7. ^ "Early life of Kharge". Press Journal Kharge. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Friends, teachers laud Kharge". Indian Express.
  9. ^ a b c "Mallikarjun Kharge takes the Congress reins". India Today. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  10. ^ "Kharge on octroi during 1973 period". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Early political career" (PDF). Department of Parliamentary Affairs & Legislation. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Kharge as Chairman of State-owned Leather Development Corporation" (PDF). cag.gov.in. Indian Audit and Accounts Department. Retrieved 5 June 2014.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Kharge performance in Karnataka" (PDF). Election Commission of India. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  14. ^ "Congress scores big win in local polls". Indian Express.
  15. ^ Phukan, Sandip (3 June 2014). "Mallikarjun Kharge consecutive win". NDTV. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  16. ^ a b "Gulbarga SC Election Results". www.elections.in. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  17. ^ "Sonia picks Mallikarjun Kharge over 'unwilling' Rahul as Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha". The Indian Express. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  18. ^ Joshi, Bharath (12 June 2020). "H D Deve Gowda, Mallikarjun Kharge elected unanimously to Rajya Sabha from Karnataka". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  19. ^ "Kharge to be Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha". The Hindu. 12 February 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  20. ^ a b "How two states slipped out of the Congress under Mallikarjun Kharge's 'observation', while a third one is on the line". India Today. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  21. ^ India Today, Mausami Singh New (1 October 2022). "Mallikarjun Kharge resigns as Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha". Retrieved 1 October 2022.
  22. ^ "Highlights: Newly-elected Cong president Kharge to take charge on Oct 26". Hindustan Times. 19 October 2022. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  23. ^ Livemint (26 October 2022). "Mallikarjun Kharge officially takes charge as 1st non-Gandhi Congress president". mint. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  24. ^ "Sanjay Jha writes: The unofficial official candidature of Mallikarjun Kharge – how Congress has failed itself". The Indian Express. 30 September 2022. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  25. ^ "Mallikarjun Kharge Is Chief - Congress Sticks To What It Knows". NDTV.com. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h "Gurmitkal Assembly Constituency Election Result". Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  27. ^ "Chittapur Assembly Constituency Election Result". Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  28. ^ a b c "Gulbarga Lok Sabha Election Result". Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  29. ^ "Mallikarjun Kharge Named New Congress Chief". NDTV. 19 October 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  30. ^ "Personal life of Mallikarjun Kharge". Business Standard. 3 June 2014. Archived from the original on 3 June 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  31. ^ "About Buddha Vihar, Gulbarga". Buddha vihar Gulbarga.
  32. ^ "A grand bow to the arts". The Hindu. 1 July 2005. Archived from the original on 27 January 2011.
Lok Sabha
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Gulbarga

2009–2019
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Labour and Employment
2009–2013
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Railways
2013–2014
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by President of
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee

2005–2008
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of the Indian National Congress
in the Lok Sabha

2014–2019
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha
2021–2022
Vacant
Preceded by President of the Indian National Congress
2022–Present
Incumbent