Priyanka Jarkiholi is the youngest tribal woman to win from an unreserved seat


Priyanka Jarkiholi is the lone Congress nominee to have won in the Kittur Karnataka region as she defeated incumbent MP Annasaheb Jolle in Chikkodi constituency.

Priyanka Jarkiholi is the lone Congress nominee to have won in the Kittur Karnataka region as she defeated incumbent MP Annasaheb Jolle in Chikkodi constituency.
| Photo Credit: THE HINDU

Congress nominee and Minister Satish Jarkiholi’s daughter Priyanka Jarkiholi has won from Chikkodi, defeating incumbent MP and BJP leader Annasaheb Jolle.

Priyanka Jarkiholi from Chikkodi became the youngest tribal woman to enter Parliament from an unreserved seat in Karnataka since independence. In fact, BJP won all the seats in Mumbai Karnataka, except Chikkodi.

Priyanka Jarkiholi also has a few firsts. She became the first woman from the tribal community to win from an unreserved seat in Karnataka. She also became the second leader from a reserved community to win from a general seat, after Kotturu Hariharappa Ranganath who was a Lok Sabha member from Chitradurga during 1984-89.

Ms. Priyanka will also be among the youngest persons to ever the Parliament. She is 27 years, 1 month, 18 days old as of June 4. The minimum age for contesting Parliament polls is 25 years.

Sagar Khandre, another victorious Congress nominee from Bidar is even younger. He is 26 years, 5 months, 24 days.

Chikkodi constituency has sprung surprises in the past too. Ratnamala Pol Savanur, a law college professor, defeated MP and union minister B Shankaranand seven times in 1996. Ms Savanur was a Janata Party nominee, but she was not renominated in 1998. Ramesh Jigajinagi won the next three elections, from three parties- Janata Dal, Lok Shakti and BJP.

In an interview to The Hindu in April, Priyanka Jarkiholi advocated for higher participation of women in public life. “There is a need for more and more women in politics to ensure that government acts like passing laws and implementing schemes and programmes. But then we have to prove ourselves by our work. The general public may want to know the impact of providing reservations to women in rural and urban local bodies. Some say women from political families tend to listen to the men of the family, rather than making independent decisions. Such questions need to be answered by women who have got the opportunity to serve the people,’‘ she said.

She had also acknowledged that she was born in a family with significant clout and rare privileges. She says she is also aware of the fact that she is lone girl in the second generation of the Jarkiholi clan, that is known for its dominance of the district politics since the late 90s. The MBA graduate holds significant shares in 14 companies, in tourism, sugar, mining and infrastructure sectors.

“I have multiple identities- a young person, the daughter of a Minister and a tribal girl who had the fortune to get a post-graduate education. I do not shy away from these identities. But then, to be a good leader or a capable, you need to prove yourself. I hope to do that,’‘ she said.

On June 4, she said that she would dedicate her victory to the people of the Lok Sabha. “This was possible only because of the hard work of party workers, leaders and the support of all the voters. Party leaders and MLAs worked for me as if it was their own election. The Congress welfare schemes and my father’s image helped me,’‘ she said.

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