|President of the Indian National Congress|
|Assumed office |
26 October 2022
|Preceded by||Sonia Gandhi (interim)|
|Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha|
|Assumed office |
16 February 2021
|Preceded by||Ghulam Nabi Azad|
|Leader of Indian National Congress, Lok Sabha|
4 June 2014 – 23 May 2019
|Prime Minister||Narendra Modi|
|Preceded by||Sushilkumar Shinde|
|Succeeded by||Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury|
|Chairperson of Public Accounts Committee|
|Appointed by||Sumitra Mahajan (Lok Sabha Speaker)|
|Preceded by||K V Thomas|
|Succeeded by||Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury|
|Minister of Railways|
17 June 2013 – 26 May 2014
|Prime Minister||Manmohan Singh|
|Preceded by||C. P. Joshi|
|Succeeded by||D. V. Sadananda Gowda|
|Minister of Labour and Employment|
29 May 2009 – 16 June 2013
|Prime Minister||Manmohan Singh|
|Preceded by||Oscar Fernandes|
|Succeeded by||Sis Ram Ola|
|Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly|
19 December 1996 – 7 July 1999
|Preceded by||B. S. Yediyurappa|
|Succeeded by||Jagadish Shettar|
|Preceded by||N. Dharam Singh|
|Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha|
|Assumed office |
12 June 2020
|Preceded by||Rajeev Gowda|
|General Secretary of |
AICC and Incharge for Maharashtra
22 June 2018 – 11 September 2020
|Preceded by||Position Created|
|Succeeded by||H. K. Patil|
|Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha|
31 May 2009 – 23 May 2019
|Preceded by||Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi|
|Succeeded by||Umesh. G. Jadhav|
|President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee|
|Preceded by||Janardhana Poojary|
|Succeeded by||R. V. Deshpande|
|Member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, Karnataka|
|Preceded by||N. Yenkappa|
|Succeeded by||Baburao Chinchansur|
|Preceded by||Vishwanath Patil Hebbal|
|Succeeded by||Valmiki Naik|
|Minister of Home Affairs, Government of Karnataka|
|Chief Minister||S. M. Krishna|
|Minister of Rural Development, Government of Karnataka|
|Born||21 July 1941|
Warwatti, Hyderabad State, British India
(now Karnataka, India)
|Political party||Indian National congress Indian National Congress|
|Education||B A, L L B|
|Alma mater||Government College, Gulbarga University, Gulbarga|
Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge (born 21 July 1941) is an Indian politician, who is the current president of the Indian National Congress since 2022, and Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from Karnataka since 2020. He is currently serving as Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha since 17 December 2022. He was also Leader of Indian National Congress, Lok Sabha from 2014 to 2019 and chairperson of Public Accounts Committee (India) from 2016 to 2019. He was formerly the Minister of Railways from 2013 to 2014 and Minister of Labour and Employment from 2009 to 2013 in the Government of India. Kharge was a Member of Parliament for Gulbarga, Karnataka from 2009 to 2019. He was also general secretary of All India Congress Committee and incharge for Maharashtra from 2018 to 2020.
He is a senior Karnataka politician and was the Leader of opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly from 1996 to 1999. He was the President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee from 2005 to 2008. He was a member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly from Gurmitkal Assembly constituency from 1972 to 2008 and from Chittapur Assembly constituency from 2008 to 2009 and Ministry of home affairs, Government of Karnataka from 1999 to 2004 and Rural development from 1978 to 1980. He defeated Shashi Tharoor in the 2022 Indian National Congress presidential election.
He is known for his record of defeating all his opposition candidates in his lifetime career except one.
Early life and background
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. 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. 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.
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. In 1969, he joined the Indian National Congress and became President of the Kalaburagi Town Congress Committee.
Rise in Karnataka's political scene
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
In 2009, Kharge contested the general elections from Gulbarga Parliamentary Constituency and won his tenth consecutive election.
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. In June, he was appointed the Leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha.
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. 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.
On October 1, 2022, he filed nominations to contest the INC party presidential polls.He was opposed by Shashi Tharoor and won with 7897 votes. He was the first INC President not from the Gandhi family in 24 years.
|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|||
|1978||Karnataka Legislative Assembly||Won||30,380||64.99%||16,599|||
|1983||Karnataka Legislative Assembly||Won||30,933||67.65%||16,143|||
|1985||Karnataka Legislative Assembly||Won||32,669||66%||17,673|||
|1989||Karnataka Legislative Assembly||Won||39,608||64.23%||19,969|||
|1994||Karnataka Legislative Assembly||Won||42,588||58.76%||19,336|||
|1999||Karnataka Legislative Assembly||Won||54,569||76.76%||47,124|||
|2004||Karnataka Legislative Assembly||Won||37,006||45.99%||18,547|||
|2008||Karnataka Legislative Assembly||Won||49,837||52.13%||17,442|||
|2009||15th Lok Sabha||Gulbarga||Won||3,45,241||45.46%||13,404|||
|2014||16th Lok Sabha||Won||5,07,193||50.83%||74,733|||
|2019||17th Lok Sabha||Lost||5,24,740||44.08%||95,452|||
|2022||President of the Indian National Congress||Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee||Won||7,897||83.12%||6,725|||
|1972 - 1978||Elected to 5th Karnataka Assembly (1st Term)
|1978 - 1983||Elected to 6th Karnataka Assembly (2nd Term)
|1983 - 1985||Elected to 7th Karnataka Assembly (3rd Term)
|1985 - 1989||Elected to 8th Karnataka Assembly (4th Term)
|1989 - 1994||Elected to 9th Karnataka Assembly (5th Term)
|1994 - 1999||Elected to 10th Karnataka Assembly (6th Term)
|1999 - 2004||Elected to 11th Karnataka Assembly (7th Term)
|2004 - 2008||Elected to 12th Karnataka Assembly (8th Term)
|2008 - 2009||Elected to 13th Karnataka Assembly (9th Term)
|2009 - 2014||Elected to 15th Lok Sabha (1st Term)
|2014 - 2019||Elected to 16th Lok Sabha (2nd Term)
|2020–Present||Elected to Rajya Sabha (1st Term)|
Kharge married Radhabai on 13 May 1968 and has 2 daughters and 3 sons. Kharge is a polyglot, claiming to be fluent in English, Hindi, Urdu, Kannada and Marathi. His son Priyank Kharge is an MLA from the Chittapur assembly constituency.
He is the Founder-Chairman of Siddharth Vihar Trust that has built the Buddha Vihar in Gulbarga, India. 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.
In November 2022, during the election campaign in Gujarat for Gujarat Assembly election, he termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Ravan in his speech. He said he has 100 heads like Ravan. After the speech, Bharatiya Janata Party demanded apologies from Kharge.
In April 2023, during Karnataka assembly election campaign in Gadag, he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi "a poisonous snake, and if people lick him they will die immediately". This led to backlash nationally and various leaders opposed his statements. Later on the same day, Kharge said that he was meaning to call the "ideology" poisonous and apologized for his statements.
- List of presidents of the Indian National Congress
- 2022 Indian National Congress presidential election
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- "About Buddha Vihar, Gulbarga". Buddha vihar Gulbarga.
- "A grand bow to the arts". The Hindu. 1 July 2005. Archived from the original on 27 January 2011.
- "Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge's Ravan remark on PM Modi triggers political row". Hindustan Times. 30 November 2022. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
- "Mallikarjun Kharge says Modi 'like a poisonous snake', then clarifies; BJP hits back". The Indian Express. 27 April 2023. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
- "Cong chief Kharge apologises for 'poisonous snake' remark, says it was meant for BJP". The News Minute. 27 April 2023. Retrieved 28 April 2023.