The Congress leaders of the early phase were cautious in placing their demands to the British government. The Congress demanded the introduction of elective system and reform of the legislative councils.

In short, between 1885 and 1892 the humble demands made by the Congress were to increase the power of the Legislative Councils, and to include elected representatives in the Central and Provincial Councils.

That the British government paid no respect to these demands of the Congress is evident from the Indian Councils Act of 1892. That is why the leaders of the Congress dubbed the Act of 1892 to be a ‘hoax’.

However, from the following years the demands made by the Congress were gradually becoming wider. For instance, in 1905 Gopal Krishna Gokhale put forward the demand of Swaraj or self-government.