Congress Party History | Indian National Congress (INC) Ideology, & Facts

Congress Party History

Congress Party: The Indian National Congress was the first contemporary nationalist movement to arise throughout the British Empire in Asia and Africa when it was founded in 1885.

Although the concept of an anti-British Indian nationalist movement dates back to the 1850s, the Indian National Congress first met in December 1885.

Although many members of the Congress Party were being radicalised by the rising poverty brought on by British imperialism, the party passed relatively modest reform proposals during its early decades. 

Nationalist Congress Party

Early in the 20th century, the party’s supporters started to support the swadeshi (“of our own nation”) doctrine, which urged Indians to shun British imports in favor of locally produced items.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Annie Besant founded the group’s “extreme” Home Rule wing the previous year, and by 1917 they had started to have substantial influence by appealing to India’s many social groups.

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The Congress Party, led by Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi, started promoting nonviolent noncooperation in the 1920s and 1930s. 

Congress party history

The Rowlatt Acts, which were constitutional reforms passed in the early part of 1919, and Britain’s implementation of them, as well as the great outrage among Indians following the killing of civilians in Amritsar (Punjab) that April, were the catalysts for the new shift in strategy.

The All India Congress Committee, established in 1929, encouraged tax evasion as a form of protest against British rule, and it was through this organisation that many of the subsequent acts of civil disobedience were carried out. Gandhi’s Salt March in 1930 was noteworthy in that aspect.

The Swaraj (Home Rule) Party, a faction of the Congress Party that supported maintaining the status quo, ran in the general elections of 1923 and 1937.

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It did particularly well in the latter year, taking 7 out of 11 provinces. The New Congress Party’s public popularity started to break down in the middle of the 1970s. 

About Congress party

Gandhi’s administration became more autocratic starting in 1975, and opposition turmoil increased. Gandhi herself lost to her Janata opponent in the legislative elections that were held in March 1977.

The opposition Janata (People’s) Party defeated the Congress Party by a wide margin, capturing 295 seats in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of India’s parliament) to 153 for the Congress.

In the early years following independence, it controlled practically all state administrations. Later, it started sharing power with other national parties (like the BJP) or local parties (e.g., the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh).

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However, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, Congress had lost much of its sway over state politics and only a small number of state governments were under its authority.

Generally speaking, the party has performed better in the northeastern and northern states and worse in the majority of the southern states.