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Mallikarjun Kharge: 10 lesser known facts about the new Congress President

In more than two decades, the Nehru-Gandhi family, led by the All India Congress Committee, has elected a non-Gandhi as president of the big old party, Mallikarjun Kharge. The 98th and current Indian National Congress President defeated fellow leader and MP for Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor in the CCP elections held on October 17.

Out of a total of 9,385 votes, Kharge received 7,897 votes, Tharoor received 1,072 votes, and 416 votes were invalid.

Here are some interesting facts about the new president of Congress

-Mallikarjun Kharrge is the second Dalit Speaker of Congress in five decades after Jagjivan Ram became Congress leader in 1970

-Kharge is a polyglot who is fluent in Urdu, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada and English.

-The former union minister for railways was born on July 21, 1942 in Bidar district of Karnataka and educated in a public Marathi middle school

-Kharge lost his mother to communal violence when he was 7 years old. The incident left a deep impact on him, thus shaping his adult ideology as a secularist.

-The Indian politician is a practicing Buddhist and self-proclaimed follower of BR Ambedkar

-Mallikarjun Kharge also has a sportsmanship to add to his wall of fame. He was a national level player in kabaddi and hockey. He also played football and cricket. Until a few years ago, the politician was often seen in stadiums catching up on the last game

-Kharge joined Congress in 1969, the year Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was kicked out of the big old party. He became chairman of the Kalaburagi City Congress Committee in the same year at the age of just 27.

-Kharge is an arts graduate from Government College, Kalaburagi. He also holds a law degree from Seth Shankarlal Lahoti Law College in Kalaburagi. An expert in labor law, he practiced under Shivaraj Patil, who later became a Supreme Court Justice

-Kharge is also known as ‘Solilada Sardara’ meaning undefeated leader as he was elected to the Karnataka Assembly nine times in a row between 1972 and 2008. He also won the constituency of Gulbarga Lok Sabha in 2009 and 2014.

-Kharge and his wife Radhabai have three sons – Rahul, Priyank and Milind – and two daughters – Priyadarshini and Jayashree. Except for Priyank, who is a congressman and former minister of Karnataka, the others are not in politics

-Kharge is a foodie. He loves his non-vegetarian palate and a good hot roti jowar.

-He does not follow any specific exercise regime except physical therapy after knee surgery in 2017. At 80, he remains more agile than most of his compatriots

-It has been made known that Kharge can be extremely witty in private. His sense of humor and sarcasm are said to set anyone on edge. At home, Kharge is a strict discipline. He is particularly careful not to waste food, electricity and water

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