The nature of the leadership and programmed of the Congress Socialist Party

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In 1934, after the suspension of the Civil Disobedience Movement, some socialist wanted to form a socialist party within the congress organisation so as to prevent the erosion of the revolutionary character of the Congress.

The socialists within the congress believed in Marxist ideas like the communists but they owed their allegiance to the Indian National Congress and were nationalists. The Congress Socialists joined hands with the bourgeois democratic within the congress for carrying on the struggle of national liberation with the help of workers, peasants and petty bourgeoisie.

The Congress Socialists wanted to create a broad base for the Congress Organisation by bringing into it the workers and the peasants. They held that the workers and the peasants should take part in the struggle for national liberation. They believed in the efficiency of such techniques as workers’ strikes and peasants’ agitation for the attainment of freedom from foreign rule.

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The Congress Socialists believed in class struggle and stood for abolition of capitalism, zamindari and princely states. They wanted to incorporate radical socio-economic measures for the uplift of toiling masses into the Congress Party’s programme.

The Congress Socialists belonged to the westernised middle class. They were influenced by the ideas of Marx, Gandhi and the Social Democracy of the West. They simultaneously practiced Marxian, Socialism, Congress nationalism and liberal democracy of the West. The Congress Socialists played an important role in the Kisan-movement.

They changed the Congress Party’s policy from aloofness to closer involvement in the affairs of princely states. The Congress Socialists activists also took part in the democratic movements of the people in the princely states against their autocratic rulers. They agitated for civil rights and responsible government.

The Congress Socialist Party a constitution which outlined the following programme of action:

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To work for the acceptance of the Congress Socialist Party programme by the Indian National Congress and to organise the workers and the peasants for their own economic uplift as well as for carrying on the movement for the achievement of independence and socialism.

Other important programmes were to organise Youth Leagues, Women’s organisation and Volunteer organisations and secure their support for the Congress Socialist Party’s programme, to resist any attempt on the part of the British government to involve India in imperialist wars, and to utilise such crisis for the intensification of the freedom struggle and to resist any ‘negotiation with the British government on constitutional issues.

The meeting at Bombay adopted a comprehensive programme as the blueprint of a Socialist society in India, containing, transfer of all power to the masses, development of the economic life of the country to be planned and controlled by the state, socialization of key industries, Insurance and Public Utilities, with a view to the progressive socialisation of the instruments of production, distribution and exchange.

It also contained. Organisation of cooperative societies for production, distribution and credit in the unorganised sector of the economic life, abolition with compensation of princes and landlords and all other classes of exploiters, redistribution of land among the peasants, recognition of the right to work or maintenance by the state, adult franchise shall be on functional basis and repudiation of the so called, Public Debt of India. Also included following items:

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The state was to encourage and control co­operative and collective farming.

The state shall not discriminate between sexes.

The state shall neither support nor discriminate between religious nor recognise any distinction based on caste or community.

To every one according to his needs” is to be the basic ultimately of distribution of economic goods.

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The Bombay session adopted separate programmes for the workers and peasants uplift. The Congress Socialists sought to mobilise the workers and peasants for their economic amelioration as well as the country’s liberation from foreign rule.

Independence and socialism were the twin objectives of the Congress Socialist Party.

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