The Indian National Congress, a 133-year-old political party, was founded on December 28, 1885, by British officers AO Hume, Dadabhai Naoroji, Dinshaw Wacha, Womesh Banerjee. This party was formed based on opposition to British colonial rule. Initially, this party worked as an organization. But after independence in 1947, it became the major political party of India. Of the 16 general elections held from 1952 to 2014, Congress won an absolute majority in 7 and led the ruling coalition in 4. She was a part of the central government for a total of 49 years. The Congress has had seven prime ministers in India.
Congress became a mass movement:
After the partition of Bengal in 1905, the party’s stand hardened and movements against the British rule started. Meanwhile, in 1915, Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa and became the President of the Congress with the help of the liberal group led by Gokhale. He started the Khilafat movement. Internal differences deepened in Congress regarding the Khilafat movement. Leaders like Chittaranjan Das, Annie Besant, Motilal Nehru formed separate Swaraj Party. In the historic Lahore Conference in 1929, Jawaharlal Nehru gave the slogan of Purna Swaraj. Mahatma Gandhi’s role in the party increased after the First World War.
Under the charismatic leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, the party achieved resounding success in the first parliamentary elections. The Congress won a majority in the Lok Sabha elections of 1952, 1957, and 1962 under the leadership of Nehru. After the death of Nehru in 1964, the command fell in the hands of Lal Bahadur Shastri. He died mysteriously in 1966 in Tashkent. Now, bypassing Morarji Desai, a consensus was reached on the name of Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi.
The first challenge to the supremacy of the Congress in independent India came in 1967 when the opposition united under the banner of the United Legislature Party and the Congress was defeated in several Hindi-speaking states. There was a split in the party and a separate faction of Congress was organized as Congress (O) under the leadership of K Kamaraj. The Election Commission recognized the faction led by Indira as the real Congress party. Indira gave the slogan of poverty hatao and won 71 elections.
Indira’s victory in the Lok Sabha elections was declared illegal by the court, after which agitations started across the country and Indira declared a state of emergency in 1975. JP’s movement shook the Indira government. When the elections were held in 1977, Congress had to face a bad defeat at the hands of the Janata Party. This government fell within two years and Indira Gandhi returned to power in 1980.
After the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, there were anti-Sikh riots across the country. After his assassination, his son Rajiv Gandhi led the party to massive success in the 1984 elections. When elections were held in 1989, the Janata Dal-BJP alliance defeated Congress. However, this government also lasted only two years.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during the election campaign in 1991. The command of the party came in the hands of PV Narasimha Rao. Congress got 232 seats in this election. After this, the support base of Congress continued to decline. It got 145 seats in the 2004 elections. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was formed with the help of allies and Manmohan Singh became the Prime Minister.
In 2014, Congress had its worst performance in the face of the Modi wave. Congress party was win 44 seats only
‘Not Sonia, this is Aandhi, the other is Indira Gandhi.’ This slogan was raised by Congress in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections to enhance the image of the then Congress President Sonia Gandhi. In this election, Congress was putting Sonia Gandhi in front of Indira Gandhi.