Indian National Congress

centrist-liberal political party in India

The Indian National Congress, also called the Congress Party, is a major Indian political party. The party was founded in 1885.[1] It is in the opposition against the ruling NDA coalition led by Bharatiya Janata Party. As of 2024's first quarter, the Congress Party is the largest opposition party.

Indian National Congress
PresidentMallikarjun Kharge
Founded28 December 1885 (138 years ago) (1885-12-28)
IdeologySocial liberalism
Political positionCentre

It is the largest constituent party of the UPA, a coalition of Indian political parties that form the opposition against the ruling NDA coalition. The party's parliamentary chairperson is Sonia Gandhi. It has registered its worst performance in an election in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

In 1969, the party suffered a major split. A faction was led by Indira Gandhi, leaving to establish the Congress (R), with the remainder becoming the Congress (O). The Congress (R) became the dominant faction, winning the 1971 general election with a considerable margin. However, another split occurred in 1979, leading to the creation of the Congress (I), which was recognized as the Congress by the Electoral Commission in 1981. Under Rajiv Gandhi's leadership, the party won a massive victory in the 1984 general elections, nevertheless losing the election held in 1989 to the National Front. The Congress then returned to power under P. V. Narasimha Rao, who moved the party towards an economically liberal agenda, a sharp break from previous leaders. However, it lost the 1996 general election and was replaced in government by the National Front (then the BJP). After a record eight years out of office, the Congress-led coalition known as the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) under Manmohan Singh formed a government post-winning 2004 general elections. Subsequently, the UPA again established the government after winning the 2009 general elections, and Singh became the first Prime Minister since Nehru in 1962 to be re-elected after completing a full five-year term. However, in the 2014 general election, the Congress suffered a heavy defeat, winning only 48 seats of the 543-member Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Parliament of India). In the 2019 general election, the party again suffered a heavy defeat, winning only 52 seats in the Lok Sabha.


  1. IH Qureshi, 'Indian Politics: A History 1962