In the Kittur Karnataka region, Priyanka Jarkiholi stands as the sole Congress candidate to secure victory, emerging triumphant by defeating the incumbent MP, Annasaheb Jolle, in the Chikkodi constituency.
In the Kittur Karnataka region, Priyanka Jarkiholi stands as the sole Congress candidate to secure victory, emerging triumphant by defeating the incumbent MP, Annasaheb Jolle, in the Chikkodi constituency.Photo: The Hindu

Meet Priyanka Jarkiholi — the Youngest Tribal Woman to Win an Unreserved Seat in Karnataka

She has emerged as the youngest tribal woman to enter Parliament from an unreserved seat in Karnataka since independence. Notably, the BJP secured all the seats in the Mumbai-Karnataka region, except for Chikkodi.

New Delhi: Priyanka Jarkiholi, the Congress nominee and daughter of Minister Satish Jarkiholi, triumphed in Chikkodi — defeating the incumbent MP and BJP leader Annasaheb Jolle.

She has emerged as the youngest tribal woman to enter Parliament from an unreserved seat in Karnataka since independence. Notably, the BJP secured all the seats in the Mumbai-Karnataka region, except for Chikkodi.

Renamed as Kittur Karnataka during the Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state, the region comprises of Haveri, Gadag, Bagalkot, Vijayapura, Dharwad, Belagavi and Uttara Kannada.

Priyanka’s victory includes several historic firsts. She is the first woman from the tribal community to win an unreserved seat in Karnataka and the second leader from a reserved community to win a general seat, following Kotturu Hariharappa Ranganath, who represented Chitradurga in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) from 1984 to 1989.

At 27 years, 1 month and 18 days old as of June 4, Priyanka is among the youngest to ever enter Parliament. The minimum age to contest general elections is 25 years. Even younger is Sagar Khandre, another victorious Congress candidate from Bidar, at 26 years, 5 months and 24 days old.

The Chikkodi constituency has a history of surprises. In 1996, law college professor Ratnamala Pol Savanur defeated seven-time MP and Union Minister B Shankaranand. Although Savanur was not re-nominated in 1998, Ramesh Jigajinagi went on to win the next three elections from three different parties: the BJP, the Lok Shakti and the Janata Dal.

In an interview with The Hindu, Priyanka emphasized the importance of increasing women's participation in public life. “There is a need for more and more women in politics to ensure effective governance and the implementation of laws and programs. Women from political families must prove themselves by their work,” she stated.

Acknowledging her privileged background, she noted her unique position as the only girl in the second generation of the influential Jarkiholi clan, which has dominated district politics since the late 1990s. An MBA graduate, she holds significant shares in 14 companies across tourism, sugar, mining and infrastructure sectors.

“I have multiple identities — a young person, the daughter of a minister and a tribal girl fortunate to receive a postgraduate education. I embrace these identities but believe that to be a good leader, one must prove oneself. I hope to achieve that,” she said.

She dedicated her victory to the people of the Lok Sabha constituency. “This win 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 were their own election. The Congress welfare schemes and my father’s image significantly contributed to my success,” she remarked.

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