Congress leader and son of party president Mallikarjun Kharge, Priyank Kharge, won in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly Elections from Chittapur constituency in Kalaburagi district on Saturday, 13 May.
Kharge defeated Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Manikanta Rathod by 13,640 votes.
The constituency, which has been reserved for a Scheduled Caste (SC) candidate, has been a stronghold of the Congress party since past few years. Kharge won from the same region in the 2013 and 2018 Assembly elections. In 2008 elections, Mallikarjun Kharge won the elections from Chittapur.
Priyank has also held several ministerial positions under the Siddaramaiah-led state government (2013-18).
After Mallikarjun Kharge was elected to Parliament in 2009, his son first contested from Chittapur in the subsequent bypoll. He lost to the BJP’s Valmiki Naik by less than 2,000 votes.
In 2013, he defeated Naik by over 30,000 votes and again in 2018, by 4,393 votes.
Recently, Priyank was surrounded by controversy after he referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "naalayak" during a campaign rally.
“When you (Modi) came to Gulbarga (Kalaburagi) what did you tell the people of Banjara community? ‘Aap sab log dariye mat. Banjara ka ek beta Dilli mein baitha hai’. Aisa nalayak beta baitha to kaise hota bhai? Ghar kaise chalega (‘You do not be afraid. A Banjara son is sitting in Delhi’. If an inept son is sitting in Delhi, how can you run the family?)” Priyank said.
Soon after, the Election Commission issued a show-cause notice to him for alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
In response to the same, Priyank said that he was reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “empty” rhetoric for the Banjara community.