The Congress on Friday nominated former Union minister Mallikarjun Kharge as the candidate for biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka.

“Congress president Sonia Gandhi has approved the candidature of Mallikarjun Kharge as Congress candidate for the ensuing biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka,” a party statement said.

Elections to four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka is slated for June 19. The term of two Congress members BK Hariprasad and MV Rajeev Gowda, Bharatiya Janata Party member Prabhakar Kore and Janata Dal (Secular) member Kupendra Reddy will end on June 25.

Kharge, a former leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha, had lost the 2019 General Election from the Kalaburagi constituency to BJP leader Umesh Jadhav by a margin of 95,452 votes. He had also been a minister in several Congress governments in the state and served as Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief and Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly.

He is currently the All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of party affairs in Maharashtra, where the party is in coalition with the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party.

The Congress, with 68 MLAs in the Assembly, can win one of the four seats easily on its own. The minimum votes required to win for each candidate is 44.