Buddhism facts

Mallikarjun Kharge to be Karnataka’s 2nd Congress Leader: 5 Facts

Mallikarjun Kharge has over 50 years of political experience.

New Delhi:
A venerable Gandhi family loyalist, Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge joined the Congress presidential race on Friday, in a bid widely seen as aimed at helping them retain control of the party.

Here are five facts about Mallikarjun Kharge:

  1. If elected, he will be the second Karnataka Congress President after S Nijalingappa, and also a Dalit leader to hold the post after Jagjivan Ram. However, whenever his background was highlighted in election contests, he said, “Why do you keep saying Dalit over and over again? Don’t say that. I’m a congressman.”

  2. Known as “Solillada Saradara” (an undefeated leader) in his home state of Karnataka, Mr. Kharge’s unbeaten election record stood until the 2014 Lok Sabha elections despite a BJP sweep of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, he lost in the 2019 election.

  3. A leader with more than 50 years of political experience, Mr Kharge, 80, has seen his career progress steadily since his humble beginnings as a labor leader in his home district of Gulbarga, now Kalaburagi. He had a legal practice before joining politics. Sober in temperament and nature, Mr. Kharge has rarely courted controversy.

  4. He joined the Indian National Congress in 1969. He served nine times as an MP for Gurmitkal before contesting the Lok Sabha poll in 2009 and twice served as an MP for the Gulbarga parliamentary segment. He also served in the central government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

  5. He is a follower of Buddhism and is the founding chairman of the Siddharth Vihar Trust which built the Buddha Vihar complex in Gulbarga. He has two daughters and three sons. One of the sons, Priyank Kharge, is an MP and former minister.

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