Calcutta Congress 1928 - rift between Gandhi loyalists and Subhas
In the Congress there were two groups - the older one contented with the Dominion Status and who would accept the Nehru report and the leftist group that would not settle without a full independence and wanted to accept Nehru report only on the basis of complete independence. A compromise was worked out in Delhi between the two groups but in Calcutta session Gandhiji refused to accept the Delhi settlement. Therefore the main resolution of Congress moved by Gandhi on Dominion Status was opposed by the entire left wing who supported the amendment moved by Subhas. A voting was held on the resolution and its amendment but the followers of Mahatma almost blackmailed people in voting for the resolution stating that if the resolution was defeated Gandhi would retire from politics. The amendment was defeated, but not without a good fight despite the blackmail. There were more reasons for the rift. Subhas had organized his volunteer corps well, in a military style. They were dressed in uniform and paraded as a well disciplined unit. However Congress old timers did not like the aggressive display and Gandhiji had equated it to a circus. Subhas summed up succinctly in his Indian Struggle, "The Calcutta Congress, coming after the Madras Congress, was in the nature of an anticlimax. The President-elect on the day of his arrival was given an ovation which would excite the envy of kings and dictators, but when he left, there was disappointment writ large on every face. There was tremendous enthusiasm all over the country at the time and every one had expected the Congress to act boldly. But while the country was ready, the leaders were not. The Mahatma, unfortunately for his countrymen, did not see light. Hence the temporising resolution of the Calcutta Congress which only served to kill precious time. Only madness or folly could have led one to hope that the mighty British Government would concede even Dominion Home Rule without a struggle. During the sittings of the Congress a procession of 10,000 workers visited the Congress pandal to demonstrate their solidarity with the struggle for national freedom and to appeal to the Congress to take up the cause of the starving workers. But all these signs of upheaval made no impression on the leaders." Subhas raised some pertinent questions - In the Dominion Status resolution Gandhi had given twelve month's time to the British Government. However they could not guarantee that there was a reasonable chance of getting the Dominion Status within that period. Why should not they then take up a bold stand? Nobody had an answer, least of all Gandhi, whose pet hobby again took precedence over national considerations.