From 50 Years Ago: Congress Election Manifesto.

Editorial from Volume IX, No 2, January 12, 1957.

The Congress has always stood for the Indian people. In the past it offered a platform to all sections of the community who aspired for national independence. As the national struggle deepened, it succeeded in unifying different sections and their conflicting interests in the common fight against Britain. When independence was won, there was considerable speculation about the future of the Congress and the role it could play in a free India. Political freedom had been the rallying point. Would the Congress be able to maintain its hold on the people after its major task had been accomplished? The question was relevant and natural, but it did not become urgent or insistent enough not to brook any delay. For political freedom came with partition, the ravages of which had immediately to be repaired. There was also the question of the native States which had to be integrated with the British administrative services. As power was transferred to Congress it automatically became the depository of the nations trust, its hands were full with pressing and urgent problems which demanded immediate attention.

The first Government formed at the Centre was consciously made into a Government of the best talents then available in the country, and though it was the Congress party which formed it, pains were taken to give it a national character. Then came the Constitution and the first general elections which the Congress fought as a party and won. Since then, Congress has functioned as a party but it has nevertheless continued to claim and retain the allegiance of nearly all sections of the people. In the next five years instead of opinions being crystallised on party lines and other parties gaining in strength and organising themselves effectively in order to bring about a different alignment of political forces, opposition has not ceased but it has failed to get politically organised.

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