Mallikarjun Kharge is an Indian politician and member of the Indian National Congress. He became a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha on 16 February 2021. Previously, he served as the Minister of Railways and Minister of Labour and Employment in the central government and Leader of opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.
Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge was born on Tuesday, 21 July 1942 (age 80 years; as of 2022) in Warwatti, Bidar, Hyderabad State, British India. At 7, Kharge and his family were forced to flee from their native village due to communal riots in which he lost his mother. Thereafter, the family settled in Gulbarga (now Kalaburagi). He attended Nutana Vidyalaya, Gulbarga till 10th standard. He pursued a Bachelor of Arts at Government Arts and Science College, Gulbarga, Karnataka. At college, Kharge plunged into politics as a student leader when he became the General Secretary & Vice President of the student’s union (1964–1965 & 1966–1967). He represented his college and university in hockey tournaments. Thereafter, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in law from Seth Shankarlal Lahoti Law College, Gulbarga. He practised law for a short while before entering active politics.
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Hair Colour: Grey
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Mapanna Kharge, and his mother’s name is Saibavva Kharge. He lost his mother when he was seven in the communal riots following which the family was forced to flee from their village, Warwatti, and settle down in Gulbarga.
Wife & Children
On 13 May 1968, he got married to Radhabai Kharge. Together, they have 3 sons and 2 daughters. His son Priyank Kharge is an MLA and a former minister. His other son’s name is Rahul Kharge. One of his daughters’ names’ is Priyadarshini Kharge; she is a doctor.
Mallikarjun Kharge and his wife, Radhabai Kharge
Priyank Kharge with his wife, Shruthi Kharge
Mallikarjun Kharge follows Buddhism. He is also a staunch follower of B.R. Ambedkar and said that Ambedkar’s monumental work “The Buddha and His Dhamma” gives us a better understanding of Buddhism.
Mallikarjun Kharge is a Dalit. Previously referred to as untouchable, Dalits belong to the lowest stratum castes i.e., scheduled castes in India.
“Lumbini” Aiwan-e-Shahi Area, Gulbarga, Karnataka-585102
289, 17th Cross, Sadashivnagar, Bangalore-560080
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. In 1969, he worked as a legal advisor for the trade union of MSK Mills and other industrial workers and fought for their rights.
After his stint as a lawyer, he joined the Indian National Congress (INC) and became the President of the Gulbarga City Congress Committee in 1969. From 1988 to 1989, he served as the Vice President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. In 2005, he was appointed as the President of the Karnataka PCC. In 2022, he the second AICC president from Karnataka after S Nijalingappa, and also a Dalit leader to hold the post after Jagjivan Ram. In 1974, he was appointed as the Chairman of the state-owned Leather Industries Development Corporation.
1972 Karnataka Assembly Elections
In 1972, he contested and won the Gurmitkal Assembly seat defeating the independent candidate Murtheppa by 9440 votes. From 1976 to 1978, he served as a Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education. In 1973, he became the Chairman of the Municipal Finances Enquiry Committee (Octroi Abolition Committee) which went into the question of reviving the economy of the municipal and civic bodies in Karnataka. Based on its report, the then Devaraj Urs government abolished the levy of octroi at multiple points.
Mallikarjun Kharge with Karnataka CM Devraj Urs
1978 Karnataka Assembly Elections
In 1978, he contested and won the Gurmitkal Assembly seat defeating the JNP candidate G.Mahadevappa Tamanna by 16,599 votes. In 1979, he became the Cabinet Minister of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj. From 1980 to 1983, he served as a Cabinet Minister of the Revenue Department in the Gundu Rao Cabinet.
1983 Karnataka Assembly Elections
In 1983, he contested and won the Gurmitkal Assembly seat defeating the JNP candidate B. S. Gajanana by 16,143 votes. Thereafter, he was elected as the Secretary of the Karnataka Congress Legislature Party in the state assembly.
1985 Karnataka Assembly Elections
In 1985, he contested and won the Gurmitkal Assembly seat defeating the JNP candidate B. S. Gajanana by 17,673 votes. Thereafter, he was appointed as the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the state assembly.
1989 Karnataka Assembly Elections
In 1989, he contested and won the Gurmitkal Assembly seat defeating the JD candidate Arvind Guruji by 19,969 votes. From 1990 to 1992, he served as the Cabinet Minister for the Revenue department and Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
1994 Karnataka Assembly Elections
In 1994, he contested and won the Gurmitkal Assembly seat defeating the JD candidate K.B. Shanappa by 19336 votes. From 1992 to 1994, he served as the Cabinet Minister for the Department of Cooperation and Medium and Large Industries. From 1996 to 1999, he served as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly.
1999 Karnataka Assembly Elections
In 1999, he contested and won the Gurmitkal Assembly seat defeating the JD(U) candidate Ashok Guruji by 47,124 votes. From 1999 to 2004, he served as the Cabinet Minister of the Home Department in the S. M. Krishna Cabinet. He also held charge of the Infrastructure Development and Minor Irrigation in the state assembly.
2004 Karnataka Assembly Elections
In 2004, he contested and won the Gurmitkal Assembly seat defeating the JD(S) candidate Akaashi Basavaraj by 18,547 votes. From 2004 to 2006, he served as the Cabinet Minister of Water Resources and Transport in the Dharam Singh-led coalition government.
2008 Karnataka Assembly Elections
In 2008, he contested and won the Chittapur Assembly seat defeating BJP candidate Valmiki Kamalu Nayak by a margin of 17,442 votes. From 2008 to 2009, he was the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly.
2009 General Elections
In 2009, he contested from the Gulbarga Lok Sabha constituency and won the seat defeating the BJP candidate Revunaik Belamgi by 13,404 votes. From 31 May 2009 to 17 June 2013, he headed the Ministry of Labour and Employment. From 17 June 2013 to 26 May 2014, he headed the Ministry of Railways. Meanwhile, he also assumed the additional charge of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
2014 General Elections
In 2014, he contested from the Gulbarga Lok Sabha constituency and won the seat defeating the BJP candidate Revunaik Belamgi by a margin of 74,733 votes. Thereafter, he became the Leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party in Lok Sabha. On 13 June 2014, he became a Member of the Business Advisory Committee. On 1 September 2014, he was appointed as a Member of Standing Committee on Home Affairs. He became a Member of Joint Parliamentary Committee on Maintenance of Heritage Character and Development of Parliament House Complex on 8 October 2014. Apart from that, he has served in various positions including Member of National Committee (NC) for commemorating the 125th Birth Anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (20 October 2014), Member of General Purposes Committee (29 January 2015), Member of Consultative Committee, Ministry of Defence (29 January 2015), Chairperson of Public Accounts Committee (1 May 2017), and Member of Committee on Budget of Lok Sabha (1 May 2017)
2019 General Elections
In 2019, he suffered his first electoral loss when was defeated by BJP’s Umesh Jadhav in the Gulbarga Lok Sabha constituency by a margin of 95,452 votes.
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
On 16 February 2021, he became a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from Karnataka. From 16 February 2021 to 01 October 2022, he was Leader of the Opposition of Rajya Sabha.
- Deposits in Banks, Financial Institutions and Non-Banking Financial Companies: Rs 1,74,93,120
- Bonds, Debentures and Shares in companies: Rs 25,37,214
- Agricultural Land: Rs 1,44,36,200
- Non Agricultural Land: Rs 42,93,640
- Commercial Buildings: Rs 2,63,76,375
- Residential Buildings: Rs 8,79,70,348
Note: The given estimates of moveable and immovable assets are as per the financial year 2017-2018.
His net worth as per the financial year 2017-2018 is Rs 15,46,00,896.
- He is popularly known as “Solillada Saradara” (a leader without defeat) in Karnataka. He has won elections for a record 11 consecutive times with 9 unprecedented wins in assembly elections (1972, 1978, 1983, 1985, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2008) and 2 in the parliamentary elections from Gulbarga (2009 and 2014).
- He is the second MP elected from Gulbarga to be made Union Cabinet Minister after C.M. Stephen, who won a by-election in 1980.
- A keen sportsperson, Kharge excelled in kabaddi, hockey, and football as a student and has won many district and divisional level prizes.
- From 1974 to 1996, he served as the President of Sri Siddhartha Education Society, Tumkur. He has also served as the President of the Karnataka People’s Education Society.
- He is the Founder-Chairman of Siddharth Vihar Trust which has built the Buddha Vihar in Gulbarga. He served as its President till 2012.
- He is a patron of Chowdiah Memorial Hall, one of the premier concert and theatre venues in Bangalore. He aided the centre to get over its debts and meanwhile helped with its plans for renovation. ‘
- In 2011, Mallikarjun Kharge’s daughter made headlines for a 3280 sq. ft. plot of land which she purchased on 15 January 2002 for Rs 1,96,837 (while the market value ran in crores) at Yelahanka (Allalasandra) Judicial Layout, allegedly flouting Society bye-laws. Apparently, in 2002, Kharge was serving as the Home Minister in the SM Krishna-led Congress government. In the light of allegations that Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge’s daughter was allotted a plot of land in violation of bye-laws, she returned the land in question to Karnataka State Judicial Department Employees House Building Co-operative Society (KSJDEHBCS) in 2011. Priyadarshini availing the land would have been a direct violation of Clause-10 of the Model Bye-laws of HBCS s which deals with the rights of members. Clause-10(B) says: “He/she in the case of Employee House Building Society is an employee of the organisation for which the society has been organised and has put in a minimum continuous or intermittent service of five years in Karnataka.” Priyadarshini was not eligible to become a member as she is a doctor by profession while the land was reserved for judicial employees.