Meet new Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, a Gandhi family loyalist
Mallikarjun Kharge was elected as the new president of the Congress party on Wednesday in a historic election. The quintessential Congressman Kharge has been considered the favorite, owing to the open support of some Congress leaders and his close association with the Gandhi family. A man of principles, Kharge's life is full of struggle and success. Here's more.
Rose to become a labor leader
Kharge was born on July 21, 1942, in the Warawatti village of Karnataka's Bidar district. After graduating from college, he studied law at Kalaburagi's Seth Shankarlal Lahoti Law College. Kharge has been interested in politics since his college days when he was involved in student politics. Later, he fought many cases for the rights of workers and became a labor leader.
Major political milestones of Kharge
The seasoned politician, Kharge, ran in nearly 12 elections, including those for the assembly and Lok Sabha, and only lost in 2019, India Today reported. He made history in 2004 when he was elected to the Karnataka Assembly for seventh time in a row. He achieved another milestone when he was elected to the Assembly from Chitapur for the tenth time in a row.
His rendezvous with the grand old party
According to sources, Kharge joined the Congress in 1969 and has held a variety of positions, including Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka and Rajya Sabha Leader of the Opposition. In the former PM Manmohan Singh's government, he was also the Minister of Railways and the Minister of Labour and Employment. He served as the Congress party's Lok Sabha leader from 2014 to 2019.
What portfolios did Kharge hold in the past?
In the state cabinet, he served as Minister of State for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Minister of Revenue in the Gundu Rao Cabinet. In 1990, he was appointed Minister of Revenue. Later, he was appointed Minister of Cooperation, Medium and Large Industries. Kharge was also the Minister for Home in S M Krishna's Cabinet.
Reforms during his tenure
In 1969, he was elected President of the Gulbarga City Congress Committee, before running for the Karnataka Assembly in 1972. He became the Chairman of the Octroi Abolition Committee in 1973, which benefited the economy of municipal and civic organizations. In 1976, he was appointed as the Minister of Primary Education and during his tenure, over 16,000 backlog vacancies for SC/ST teachers were cleared.
Kharge's vision as Congress chief
In a declaration issued before the presidential election, Kharge stated that he would prioritize the Udaipur Declaration, especially the '50 under 50' formula to keep half the party positions for all those under the age of 50. He also stated that no officeholder who has served for five years should be re-elected since a fresh candidate was successfully selected or elected.
'Will initiate dialogue with workers at all levels'
Kharge stated that he would focus on building the party apparatus at all levels and that any outstanding appointments will be filled quickly. The Congress leader also stated that he will begin a dialogue with party workers at all levels. "Our workers will have a say in key appointments. Party loyalists will be given preference in all important positions," he had stated.