Some of the presidents of the Congress party have strode like colossus over Indian polity
GN Bureau | December 4, 2017
Rahul Gandhi, who becomes the Congress chief on Monday without opposition, is taking up a position that was once occupied by stalwarts like Jawaharlal Nehru, JB Kripalani and Subhas Chandra Bose.
Here are 10 of the Congress presidents who have headed the party that came into being in 1885.
K. Kamaraj: Considered a kingmaker in the 1960s, he was responsible for Lal Bahadur Shastri becoming the prime minister. He navigated the party after Jawaharlal Nehru’s death.
READ: Lesser known facts about Rahul Gandhi
U. N. Dhebar: He joined the Indian independence movement after coming under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi. As chief minister of then Saurashtra state, he carried out several reforms.
Jawaharlal Nehru: India’s first prime minister, Nehru is considered the architect of the modern Indian nation-state. He oversaw the country’s transition from a colony to a republic.
J. B. Kripalani: Better known as Acharya Kripalani, he was the Congress chief in 1947 when the transfer of power took place. He was a Gandhian and he courted arrest during the Civil Disobedience movement.
Abul Kalam Azad: Maulana Azad was a senior Muslim leader in the Congress and he became the first minister of education of free India. He espoused socialism and secularism.
Subhas Chandra Bose: Also known by the honorific Netaji, Subhas Bose revived and revamped the Indian National Army. In 1939, he defeated Mahatma Gandhi’s preferred nominee Pattabhi Sitaramayya.
Madan Mohan Malaviya: He was an educationist and a moderate leader. He founded the Banaras Hindu University.
Mahatma Gandhi: He led India to independence. His stress on non-violence inspired civil rights movements and freedom struggle across the world.
Vallabhbhai Patel: Popularly called Sardar Patel, he is the man who united the country. He was India’s first deputy prime minister.
Lala Lajpat Rai: Part of the Lal Bal Pal triumvirate, he played a key role in the freedom struggle. He was assaulted while leading a silent march against Simon Commission and died a fortnight later.
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