About Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress (INC or Congress) Facts
|Founded on||1885, 128 years ago|
|Founder||British civil servant Allan Octavian Hume|
|Present prominent leaders of INC||Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Shri Rahul Gandhi, Dr Manmohan Singh|
|Parliamentary Chairperson||Sonia Gandhi|
|President of INC||Sonia Gandhi|
|Leader of INC in Lok Sabha||Sushilkumar Shinde|
|Leader of INC in Rajya Sabha||Dr. Manmohan Singh|
|Probable PM Candidate 2014||Rahul Gandhi|
|Present Prime Minister||Manmohan Singh|
|Political Position||Center left (Capitalism)|
|Philosophy||Populism, Indian Nationalism (Liberal nationalism), Social democracy, Democratic socialism, Gandhian socialism, Progressivism|
|Alliance||(UPA) United Progressive Alliance|
|Party type||National Party|
|Student Wing||National Students Union of India|
|Labour Wing||Indian National Trade Union Congress|
|Seats in Lok Sabha||206 out of 545|
|Seats in Rajya Sabha||70 out of 245|
|Head office address||24, Akbar Road, New Delhi|
|INC current Chief Ministers|
|Andhra Pradesh||Shri N. Kiran Kumar Reddy|
|Arunachal Pradesh||Shri Nabam Tuki|
|Assam||Shri Tarun Gogoi|
|Haryana||Shri Bhupinder Singh Hooda|
|Kerala||Shri Oommen Chandy|
|Maharashtra||Shri Prithviraj Chavan|
|Manipur||Shri Okram Ibobi Singh|
|Meghalaya||Dr Mukul Sangma|
|Uttarakhand||Shri Harish Rawat|
|Himachal Pradesh||Shri Virbhadra Singh|
Members of the Theosophical Society, namely Dadabhai Naoroji, Surendranath Banerjee, M.G. Ranade, Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, Dinshaw Wacha, Monomohun Ghose and William Wedderburn, headed by A.O. Hume, established the Indian National Congress to play a pivotal role in the Indian freedom struggle against the British rule. Liberal nationalism became the war-cry of the Congress, drawing to it more than 15 million members and triple the number of participants in the anti-imperialist struggle. Though it began as a political party, the INC was symbolic of the largest vehicle of the Indian National Movement in the pre-independent era, being the sole representative of the people of the country and representing social reform causes and human progress.
The Congress is credited with a number of historic demands and movements of the freedom struggle. With Mahatma Gandhi adorning the centre stage of Indian freedom struggle, a number of other members of the Congress joined the freedom struggle. Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Jayaprakash Narayan, Jivatram Kripalani, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Rajendra Prasad and others followed in the aura of Gandhian policy of Satyagraha and his concept of non-violence. The Congress became increasingly popular among the masses, though with years, it began to identify itself with the big business houses of the Tata’s and the Birla’s. In the final years of the British rule, the Congress became synonymous to the leadership and spiritual guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. With the independence of India being achieved in 1947 and the immediate assassination of Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru became the sole undisputed head of the INC in independent India. The INC faced severe crisis in 1967, when Indira Gandhi, the then President of Congress, faced criticisms and oppositions from the majority members of the INC, as her leadership failed to achieve success in the states of the Hindi belt. The Congress witnessed a split, as a result of the growing tensions between the elder members and the young members of the INC. The faction headed by Indira Gandhi came to be called Congress (R) or the ‘New Congress’ and the official and original Congress party led by Kamaraj came to be called Indian National Congress (Organization) or INC(O) or the ‘Old Congress’. Soon however, the Election Commission of India identified the ‘New Congress’ as the official Congress. With Indira Gandhi becoming autocratic and dictatorial in her approach, as the Congress President as well as the PM of India, increasing factionalism took place within the Congress party. In the face of severe opposition, she unleashed a police state in the country by proclaiming a National Emergency in 1975. She lifted the emergency in 1977 when fresh elections were held. Indira Gandhi’s authoritarian rule led to the first electoral defeat of the Congress in the hands of the Janata Party in 1977.
The present President of the INC is Indira Gandhi’s daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi, the wife of Rajiv Gandhi. The present Vice President of the INC is Sonia Gandhi’s son Rahul Gandhi. The Nehru-Gandhi legacy has percolated to the party’s top leadership even today. The Congress has won a number of general elections in the country. The 2009 elections made the Congress form the present government in a Congress-led UPA alliance. Manmohan Singh is the present Prime Minister of India, and represents the Congress party.
Election Symbol and its Significance
The election symbol of the Congress party, as approved by the Election Commission of India, is the “right hand”, with its palm-side facing front. It is usually seen in the centre of an Indian flag, which forms its background. The fingers of the hand are pressed together. This election symbol is significant as it was selected by the Indira Gandhi led Congress (R), which later came to be recognized as the official Congress.
The symbol of the original Congress, founded in 1885 was different - it had a symbol of ‘two bullocks with plough’. The present hand symbol was first used by Indira Gandhi as she split from the old faction and created the New Congress. The hand is symbolic of strength, energy and unity. The Congress is the largest democratic party in the country with the largest number of members and party worker. The Congress, according to its symbol, works in unity with the members and the masses, thereby forming a strong party. The working of the Congress, which follows various ranks within its organizational structure, is also representative of the energy and efforts needed to function as a party.
The Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) is the smallest functional unit of the Congress, present at the state-level in every state or Pradesh. Together, the delegates of the PCCs form the All India Congress Committee (AICC). This structured working of the party lends unity, show of strength and effort to rule across India.
Leaders of Congress
The Congress Working Committee is the highest decision-making body of the INC. The leaders of the INC, who are also their representatives and national executives, are:
- Sonia Gandhi, President of INC Sonia Gandhi, the Parliamentary Chairperson of the INC, succeeded her husband Rajiv Gandhi as the Congress President in 1998 and has remained in that post ever since. She is the longest serving President of the party in the history of the INC. She has served as the President of the National Advisory Council (NAC), which is an unconstitutional body set up to aid and advise the Prime Minister in his governance of the country. She has also served as the Leader of Opposition in the 13th Lok Sabha in 1999, when the BJP-led NDA government came to power. Sonia Gandhi is the Chairperson of the present United Progressive Alliance (UPA) since 2004, when the Congress-led UPA came to power consecutively in 2004 and 2009.
- Manmohan Singh, PM and Leader of House, Rajya Sabha Singh is the current Prime Minister of India. He has retained the post of PM for 2 consecutive terms in 2004 and 2009. He is the first PM after Jawaharlal Nehru, to have completed the full 5-year term in office. His government under UPA-1 and UPA-2 is said to have brought about certain important acts and schemes such as the Right to Information Act in 2008, Rural Health Mission, Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, and the recent Food Security Bill in 2013.
- Sushil Kumar Shinde, Leader of House, Lok Sabha Shinde is a member of the Congress Working Committee in the category of ‘Permanent Invitees’. Besides being the Leader in Lok Sabha, he is the Minister of Home Affairs in the present UPA-2 government.
- Rahul Gandhi, Vice-President of the INC Rahul Gandhi is a Member of Parliament from the Amethi constituency in UP. He is also the Chairperson of the Indian Youth Congress as well as the National Students Union of India (NSUI). Rahul Gandhi is being viewed as a potential Prime Ministerial candidate from the INC in the upcoming 2014 general elections.
- A.K. Anthony, MP, Rajya Sabha Antony is the Defence Minister of India in the present UPA government.
- Digvijay Singh, General Secretary, AICC Singh has remained the former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and one of the most important figures in the INC.
Achievements of Congress
As the oldest-surviving national political party, the INC has had a number of achievements in the political scenario of the country. Some of these are listed below:
- The INC has a number of frontal organizations and mass wings under its banner. Its student wing called the National Students Union of India (NSUI) has a vibrant presence in student politics across the country. It has contributed to the cause of women through its women’s wing called All India Mahila Congress. Its labour wing, one of the largest trade unions in the country, is called Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC). Its youth wing is called Indian Youth Congress.
- The UPA-1 and UPA-2 governments, successively in power in 2004 and 2009, have initiated some of the important social policies like Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Rural Health Mission. The party claims to take into account the causes of the marginalized and underprivileged sections of the society through Reservation Policies in all sectors of government jobs and education. The INC also supports the family planning with birth control scheme, though it does not overtly adhere to it in terms of a policy etc. The INC claims to operate on the Gandhian principles of Sarvodaya or upliftment of all sections of the society.
- The INC has had healthy foreign relations with countries of USA, European Union and other SAARC countries. The UPA government initiated peace talks with bordering countries of China and Pakistan. The INC has maintained the policy of non-alignment as its major foreign intervention. In fact, Jawaharlal Nehru was the founder of the Non-Alignment Movement. The successive Congress governments have been participants in major international organizations like World Trade Organization, G20 Industrial Summits, International Monetary Fund, United Nations, UN Security Council, East Asia Summit and others.
- The Congress government has been a proponent of economic neo-liberalism, as its economic policy from 1991. They have initiated free market policies and other schemes such as disinvestment of profit making PSUs, introducing FDIs in finance sector and MNCs in retail sector. These have been opposed by other political parties as being anti-people.
- The historic Right to Information Act was passed in 2011, thereby making the government responsible for its actions. Other significant legislations passed by the Congress are Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, Benami Transaction Prohibition Bill, Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, Public Procurement Bill and others. Another significant piece of legislation passed in February 2013 was Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act.
Official Website of INC: http://aicc.org.in/
Head-Office Address of INC: 24, Akbar Road, New Delhi - 110011, India
Email id: email@example.com
Last Updated on February 07, 2014