Mallikarjun Kharge

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Mallikarjun Kharge
President of Indian National Congress
Assumed office
17 October 2022
Preceded bySonia Gandhi
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha
In office
16 February 2021 (2021-02-16) – 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
Preceded bySushilkumar Shinde
Succeeded byAdhir Ranjan Chowdhury
Chairperson of Public Accounts Committee
In office
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
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
President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee
In office
Preceded byJanardhana Poojary
Succeeded byR. V. Deshpande
Member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, Karnataka
In office
Preceded byN. Yenkappa
Succeeded byBaburao Chinchansur
In office
Preceded byVishwanath Patil Hebbal
Succeeded byValmiki Naik
Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Karnataka
In office
Chief MinisterS. M. Krishna
Minister of Rural Development, Government of Karnataka
In office
In office
Personal details
Born (1942-07-21) 21 July 1942 (age 81)
Warwatti, Bhalki taluka, Bidar district, Hyderabad State, British India (present-day Karnataka, India)
Political partyIndian National Congress
Radhabai Kharge
m. 1968)
Alma materGovernment College, Gulbarga
Gulbarga University

Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge (born 21 July 1942) is an Indian politician who is the 99th and current president of Indian National Congress. He also a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from Karnataka and Leader of the Opposition of Rajya Sabha from 16 February 2021 to 1 October 2022.[1] He is the former Minister of Railways and Minister of Labour and Employment in the Government of India. Kharge is a member of the Indian National Congress (INC) political party[2] and was a Member of Parliament for Gulbarga, Karnataka during 2009–2019.

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) and lost in the 2019 General Elections against Umesh Jadhav from Gulbarga. Mallikarjun Kharge was the leader of the congress party in Lok Sabha during 2014–2019.[3]

Early life and background[edit]

Mallikarjun Kharge was born in the Varawatti, Bhalki Taluk, Bidar district, Karnataka to Mapanna Kharge and Sabavva.[4] 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.[5]

Political career[edit]

Early career[edit]

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.[6] In 1969, he joined the Indian National Congress and became President of the Gulbarga City Congress Committee

Rise in Karnataka's political scene[edit]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12]

In the 2014 general elections, Kharge contested and won from the Gulbarga parliamentary seat, beating his closest rival from the BJP by over 73,000 votes.[13] In June, he was appointed the Leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha.[14]

Kharge contested the 2019 general elections against Umesh. G. Jadhav, a BJP candidate, in Gulbarga Lok Sabha constituency of Karnataka. Jadhav defeated Mallikarjun Kharge by a margin of 95,452 votes. Jadhav polled 6,20,192 votes while Kharge got only 5,24,740 votes.[15]

On 12 June 2020 Kharge was elected (unopposed) to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, at the age of 78 years.[16]

On 12 February 2021, Kharge was appointed Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha.[17]

Philanthropic and social activities[edit]

He is the Founder-Chairman of Siddharth Vihar Trust that has built the Buddha Vihar in Gulbarga, India.[18]

He is the Patron of Chowdiah Memorial Hall which is one of the premier concert and theatre venues in Bangalore and helped the centre get over its debts and aided the centre's plans for renovation.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Kharge married Radhabai on 13 May 1968 and has two daughters and three sons.[4][20] In 2006, Kharge said he follows Buddhism.[21]


  1. "Congress names Mallikarjun Kharge for leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha". The Times of India. 12 February 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  2. "Spectacular rise for Kharge". The Hindu. 29 May 2009. Archived from the original on 2 June 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  3. "Team Manmohan". Indian Express.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Detailed Profile". Government of India. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  5. "Early life of Kharge". Press Journal Kharge. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  6. "Friends, teachers laud Kharge". Indian Express.
  7. "Kharge on octroi during 1973 period". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  8. "Early political career" (PDF). Department of Parliamentary Affairs & Legislation. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  9. "Kharge as Chairman of State-owned Leather Development Corporation" (PDF). Indian Audit and Accounts Department. Retrieved 5 June 2014.[permanent dead link]
  10. "Kharge performance in Karnataka" (PDF). Election Commission of India. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  11. "Congress scores big win in local polls". Indian Express.
  12. Phukan, Sandip (3 June 2014). "Mallikarjun Kharge consecutive win". NDTV. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  13. "Gulbarga(Karnataka) Lok Sabha Election Results 2019 -Gulbarga Parliamentary Constituency, Winning MP and Party Name". Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  14. "Sonia picks Mallikarjun Kharge over 'unwilling' Rahul as Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha". The Indian Express. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  15. "Shocking! Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge defeated by BJP's Umesh Jadhav in Gulbarga election results 2019". Times Now. 23 May 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  16. Joshi, Bharath (12 June 2020). "H D Deve Gowda, Mallikarjun Kharge elected unanimously to Rajya Sabha from Karnataka". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  17. "Kharge to be Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha". The Hindu. 12 February 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  18. "About Buddha Vihar, Gulbarga". Buddha vihar Gulbarga.
  19. "A grand bow to the arts". The Hindu. 1 July 2005. Archived from the original on 27 January 2011.
  20. "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)
  21. "Hundreds embrace Buddhism in Gulbarga | Bengaluru News – Times of India". The Times of India. 15 October 2006. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
Lok Sabha
Preceded by
Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi
Member of Parliament
for Gulbarga

Succeeded by
Umesh. G. Jadhav
Political offices
Preceded by
Oscar Fernandes
Minister of Labour and Employment
Succeeded by
Sis Ram Ola
Preceded by
CP Joshi
Minister of Railways
Succeeded by
DV Sadananda Gowda
Party political offices
Preceded by
Janardhana Poojary
President of
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee

Succeeded by
R. V. Deshpande
Preceded by
Sushilkumar Shinde
Leader of the Indian National Congress
in the Lok Sabha

Succeeded by
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury
Preceded by
Ghulam Nabi Azad
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha
2021 – Present
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