Congress marks 135th foundation day: Here’s a brief backgrounder

As the Indian National Congress marked its 135th foundation day today, party’s interim President Sonia Gandhi hoisted their flag at the Congress headquarters at 34, Akbar Road in New Delhi.

Official twitter handle of the party wrote, “Sacrifice for the nation stands above all else for the Congress party. From the time of our foundation, through the Indian independence movement and for all the days to come, India comes first.”

It further said, “135 years of Unity, 135 years of justice, 135 years of equality, 135 years of ahimsa, 135 years of freedom. Today we celebrate 135 years of Indian National Congress.”

Being one of the oldest political parties in the world, Congress managed to dominate the Great Britain with their strategic movements during the days of freedom struggle. It all started with Allan Octavian Hume, a member of the Imperial Civil Service (later the Indian Civil Service) presided over a meeting with 17 men, with the idea of forming the Indian National Congress in 1884.

Allan Octavian Hume

Even though the party did not receive much support in their initial days, they gained political prominence after endorsing the policy of ‘Swadeshi Movement– that involved programmes like boycott of government services, courts, schools, colleges and of foreign goods in early 20th century.

Swadeshi movement

Some of the extremist leaders who played crucial role in the Swadeshi movement are – Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh.

With 15 million members and 70 million participants (approximately), the Congress party led their freedom movement and manged to push out the imperial colonizers of India.

Being the oldest party of the country, the Indian National Congress led the Central government for 49 years.

There were six Congress Prime Ministers so far – first Jawaharlal Nehru (1947–1964), and the most recent Manmohan Singh (2004–2014). The Congress have had difficult journey in last two general elections – 2014 and 2019. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Congress had its poorest post-independence general election performance, winning only 44 seats of the 543-member Lok Sabha.

However, the party is in power in seven legislative assemblies – Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra (part of Maha Vikas Aghadi), Jharkhand (in alliance with JMM) and union territory of Puducherry (in alliance with DMK).


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