The movement for India’s independence began with the establishment of the Indian National Congress in 1885. It is very difficult to say as to how the idea of establishing an organization like the National Congress originated. Allan Octavian Hume, a retired I.C.S. officer was instrumental in the formation of Indian national Congress and ideology of moderate leaders. He wrote an open letter to the students of Calcutta university asking at least fifty among them to be ready for making sacrifices for the cause of the motherland. Mr. Hume met Lord Dufferin, the then Governor- General of India and decided to form an association which might function on the model of the opposition party of Britain.
Before the birth of the National Congress, a number of organizations were formed. But most of them had limited objectives and their influence remained confined to their respective regions. Indian National Congress, by name Congress Party, is political party of India and formed in 1885, the Indian National Congress dominated the Indian movement for independence from Great Britain. It subsequently formed most of India’s governments from the time of independence and often had a strong presence in many state governments.
It organised a number of peasant demonstrations demanding reduction of the rate of revenue. With a view of bringing representatives from all over India to a common platform, the Indian Association organised All-India National Conferences twice in 1883 and 1885. But the Indian public opinion could be organised and articulated only with the formation of Indian National Congress as a national forum.
12 facts about the Indian National Congress you must know:
1. In December 1884, Allan Octavian Hume presided over a private meeting with 17 men after a Theosophical convention in Madras. The idea of forming the Indian National Congress was conceived in this meeting.
2. At the time of foundation, the party’s objective was to obtain a greater participation for educated Indians in the government and to create a forum where political dialogues among educated Indians and the British Raj could be arranged.
3. The first meeting of the Congress was scheduled to take place at Poona (now Pune). However, due to a cholera outbreak, the event was shifted to Bombay (now Mumbai). Hume had to get the approval of the then Viceroy Lord Duffrin to hold the meeting.
4. Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee also known as Umesh Chandra Banerjee was elected as the first president of the first meeting of the Congress that included 72 other delegates.
5. Until 1905, the Congress did not have much public support. After Lord Curzon’s declaration of the Partition of Bengal, senior Congress leaders Surendranath Banerjee and Sir Henry Cotton broke the political barriers and made the party instrumental in the Swadeshi movement.
6. After the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa in 1915, the Congress elected him as the president. By the end of the First World War in 1919, Gandhi became the spiritual leader and icon of the party.
7. The Congress party played a pivotal role in the Indian freedom movement. With over 15 million members and 70 million participants, the party eventually ousted the imperial colonizers from India.
8. Even after the Independence, the Congress party has ruled over Indian politics. In the 15 general elections since independence, the Congress has won on six occasions and has led the ruling coalition another four times.
9. The Congress party is the oldest ruling party of free India. The party has led the central government for 49 years.
10. Seven Indian Prime Ministers have been elected from the party and six others had been former members. Jawaharlal Nehru, Gulzarilal Nanda, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narsimha Rao and Manmohan Singh were active members of the party during their prime ministerial tenure. On the other hand, Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, V P Singh, Chandra Sekhar, H D Deve Gowda, I K Gujral had been members of the Congress before their appointment.
11. Sonia Gandhi is the longest-serving president of the party till date. She joined the party as a primary member at the 1997 plenary session and was elected president in 1998.
12. Rahul Gandhi is the current president of INC
The Indian National Congress first established in December 1885, though the idea of an Indian nationalist movement opposed to British rule dated from the 1850s. During its first several decades, the Congress Party passed fairly moderate reform resolutions, though many within the organization were becoming radicalized by the increased poverty that accompanied British imperialism. In the early 20th century, elements within the party began to endorse a policy of swadeshi (“of our own country”), which called on Indians to boycott of imported British goods and promoted Indian-made goods
The United Front (UF) government—a coalition of 13 parties—came to power in 1996 as a minority government with the support of the Congress Party. However, as the largest single party in opposition in parliament after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP; Indian People’s Party), the Congress Party was vital in both making and defeating the UF. In November 1997 the Congress Party withdrew its support from the UF, prompting elections in February 1998. To boost its popularity among the masses and improve the party’s performance in the forthcoming elections, the Congress Party leaders urged Sonia Gandhi—the Italian-born widow of Rajiv Gandhi—to assume the leadership of the party. She had previously declined overtures to play an active role in party affairs. The party’s better-than-expected performance in the national elections was attributed by many observers to Sonia Gandhi’s charisma and vigorous campaigning. After the 1998 elections, Kesri resigned as party president, and Sonia Gandhi assumed the leadership of the party.
With its birth, the struggle for India’s liberation was started in an organised manner. Mahatma Gandhi subsequently ‘made it a mass organisation from a class organisation of few urban educated middle class people.
It gave representation to the people of different parts of India belonging to different walks of life. National Congress attempted to fulfill their hope and aspirations. India could be liberated from the British colonial rule by starting a non-violent movement under the banner of National Congress.
corruption scandals involving government officials. The party touted its record at passing legislation aimed at improving the lot of those living in poverty and rural areas, and it fielded Sonia’s son, Rahul Gandhi, to be its candidate for prime minister. However, the BJP and its leading candidate.
The Congress Party’s presence at the state level has closely mirrored its performance at the national level. It dominated nearly all state governments in the early years after independence and later began alternating power with other national parties (e.g., the BJP) or with local parties . The party has tended to do better in the northeastern and northern states and poorly in most of the southern states.
Policy And Structure
The Congress Party is a hierarchically structured party. Delegates from state and district parties attend an annual national conference, which elects a president and the All India Congress Committee. However, the 20-member Congress Working Committee, the majority of whose members are appointed by the party president (handpicked by the prime minister when the party is in power), wields enormous influence. The party is also organized into various committees and sections (e.g., youth and women’s groups), and it publishes a daily newspaper, the National Herald. Mirroring the party’s declining fortunes, the party’s membership dropped from nearly 40 million in the mid-1990s to under 20 million at the beginning of the 21st century.
The party has traditionally supported socialist economic policies within the framework of a mixed economy. From 1951 until his death in 1964, Jawaharlal Nehru dominated the Congress Party, which won overwhelming victories in the elections of 1951–52, 1957, and 1962. The party united in 1964 to elect Lal Bhadur Shastri and in 1966 Indira Gandhi (Nehru’s daughter) to the posts of party leader and thus prime minister. In 1967, however, Indira Gandhi faced open revolt within the party, and in 1969 she was expelled from the party by a group called the “Syndicate.” Nevertheless, her New Congress Party scored a landslide victory in the 1971 elections, and for a period