dmpq-“Congress’s Tripuri crisis was an evidence of ideological polarization in party.” Comment.

Subhas Bose had been a unanimous choice as the President of the Congress in 1938. In 1939, he decided to stand again — this time as the spokesperson of militant politics and radical groups.  However, with the blessings of Gandhiji, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, J.B. Kripalani other leaders put up Pattabhi Sitaramayya as a candidate for the post.  Bose accused Patel and other top leaders of Congress as ‘rightists’. He openly accused them of working for a compromise with the Government on the question of the federation. Bose had, therefore, appealed to Congressmen to vote for a leftist and ‘a genuine anti-federationist.’

Nevertheless, in reality, the difference between ‘right’ and ‘left’ was not very vivid within the Congress and most Congressmen were anti-federationist.  Subhas Bose won the election on 29 January on the popularity of his militant politics but only by a narrow margin – 1580 votes against 1377.  But the election of Bose brought the brewing crisis to a head at the Tripuri session of the Congress.  Gandhiji declared that Sitaramayya’s defeat was ‘more mine than his.

Bose argued in his presidential address at Tripuri for a programme of immediately giving the British Government a six-month ultimatum to grant the national demand for independence and of launch a mass civil disobedience movement if it failed to do so.  Subhas Bose believed that the Congress was strong enough to bunch an immediate struggle that the masses were ready for such struggle.  However, Gandhi’s perceptions were very different. Gandhi believed the time was not yet ripe for an ultimatum because neither Congress nor the masses were yet ready for struggle.

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