Priyanka Jarkiholi: Meet the first tribal woman to win from an unreserved constituency

Chikkodi MP wants parties to give women more tickets, campaign for them


At 27, Priyanka Jarkiholi became the first tribal woman to become an MP from an unreserved Lok Sabha constituency by winning the Chikkodi seat in Karnataka’s Belagavi district.

Jarkiholi, the first tribal woman to win from an unreserved constituency, wants political parties to give more tickets to women and also campaign for them. - Priyanka Jarkiholi, Chikkodi, Karnataka

An MBA graduate, Priyanka is the daughter of state minister Satish Jarkiholi. She candidly admitted that being a member of an influential family that enjoys immense political clout in the region helped her win. While Priyanka’s father is a working president of the state Congress, two of her uncles are BJP MLAs. She benefited from the decision by the ruling Congress to field children of sitting ministers in six Lok Sabha seats.

“The Jarkiholi family is well known and people have seen my father’s performance as an MLA, so they readily placed their trust in me,” said Priyanka. Interestingly, the electrifying campaign saw all the Jarkiholis in action. Priyanka’s father and younger brother helmed her campaign, while her MLA uncles campaigned for the BJP.

The first-time MP said more women should take up politics as a profession. “I have often wondered why we have always had a lone woman minister in the state cabinet. There are 2.7 crore women in Karnataka, almost half of the total population. I believe things will change once the 33 per cent reservation for women in assembly and Parliament is implemented. Party leaders should give importance to women and give them more tickets and also campaign for them,” said Priyanka.

As she prepares to fly to Delhi and formally begin her stint as an MP, Priyanka said she would sit with her father and local leaders to draw up a development plan for her constituency. “We will pursue long-pending demands like a railway line, textile units and a solution to the water crisis.”