Mallikarjun Kharge has won the Congress Presidential elections by a landslide margin with 7,897 votes, and with this win Congress gets a Dalit president after 51 years. He has also become the second AICC president from Karnataka after S Nijalingappa (1968-69). Kharge will be the first non-Gandhi president of the party in 24 years.
Kharge, who keep good relations with the Gandhi family, especially Rahul Gandhi, will be the second Dalit president in the Congress after Babu Jagjivan Ram. Jagjivan Ram was the President of Congress from 1970 to 1971. In 1970, Babu Jagjivan Ram became the first Dalit President of the Congress after independence. Kharge, with more than 50 years of experience in politics, will also be the sixth Congressman from south India after some stalwarts like Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, K Kamaraj and PV Narasimha Rao.
All along, he has got elected from a constituency reserved for Scheduled Castes – eight terms from the Gurmitkal assembly seat and one from Chittapur. He chose the SC-reserved Gulbarga when he had to contest the parliamentary polls. However, in 2019, he lost to BJP’s debutant Umesh Jhadav.
Records show that the first serious contest for the post of Congress President was held in 1939 between Subhas Chandra Bose and Pattabhi Sitaramayya. Later, top Congress leaders led by Gandhi gave support, but Bose won. The election for this post again in 1950 was fought between JB Kriplani and Purushottam Das Tandon before the Nashik session. Tandon emerged victorious but later resigned following differences with the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru served in two positions of party chief and PM between 1951 and 1955. Nehru left the post of Congress President in 1955 and UN Dhebar succeeded him.
Between 1947 and 1964, and again from 1971 to 1977, most party presidents were prime ministerial candidates. In 1997, Sitaram Kesari defeated rivals Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot. Won the election of Congress President by defeating. Kesari was later removed from the chair through the CWC resolution in March 1998 and Sonia Gandhi, who became the primary member of AICC a year earlier, was offered to take over.
Sonia was formally elected president on 6 April 1998. Later in 2017-2019 took a break. Sonia is the longest serving party leader. After the defeat of the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi resigned from the post of party president. In 2000, Jitendra Prasad challenged Sonia and lost. There has been no contest for this post for 22 years. Rahul was elected unanimously in 2017.