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Tripuri Congress - the Run Up to the expulsion of Subhas and the role of Congress

Adapted from Narendra Narayan Chakrabarty- Netaji Sango o Prasango:

In the run upto the Tripuri Congress, a most nefarious design was unveiled. An extremely indisposed Subhas was dragged to participate in a conference by a coterie comprising of Gandhi loyalists whose primary motive was to stay in power and to compromise with the British Government for allowing them to share some power. Some of them were driven by motive of not willing to go to the jail, others had business interest, others were hungry for power, still others were in no mood to fight with the British Government. All of them took up Gandhi-ism as a shield. And their leader was busy solving a petty problem in a princely state and was unable to compromise on the principle, even if it would mean surrendering the interest of the Nation or subordinating to the inevitable consequence of continuing with the despicable foreign supremacy.

A rattled Gandhiji had said that he was against the reelection of Subhas Chandra Bose from the very beginning. He had asked Dr. Pattabhi to stand as a candidate in the Presidential election, so Pattabhi's defeat was his own defeat. Without principles and ideology he had nothing else. It was evident to him after the reelection of Subhas Bose that his ideology was not liked by a majority of Congressmen. He was therefore happy with the defeat as he had known the truth. Those who were hesitating to work within Congress under the present circumstance they should leave Congress if it was impossible to cooperate with the new leadership. It was very apparent from the interview that Gandhiji's own ideals were superior to the National interest, according to him. He had started another non cooperation - against Subhas Chandra Bose. Subhas Chandra Bose went to Wardha to meet Gandhi. After he came back he received the letter that the twelve Working Committee members had resigned - Patel, Azad, Bhulabhai Desai, Kripalani, Pattabhi, Abdul Gaffur, Sarojini Naidu, Harekrishna Mahatab, Rajendra Prasad, Jairamdas Daulatram and Jamunalal Bajaj. Jawaharlal Nehru did not sign that declaration, but gave a separate interview and in that he squarely blamed Subhas for the impasse. The coterie resigned from the Parliamentary board as well.

In 1936 the coterie had resigned in a similar way, but Gandhiji stepped in to resolve the conflict with Jawaharlal Nehru. He needed Nehru who was pliable. But with Subhas the task was impossible. So this time there was no intermediation.

Subhas was taken in an ambulance to Tripuri. Yet the Congress leaders believed that he feigned his illness. The Medical team present checked his condition and confirmed that he was sick. But it would not matter to the Gandhi loyalists. They were adamant in seeing Subhas Bose defeated. Subhas was accompanied by his mother Prabhavati Devi and niece Ila. Mejda Sarat Bose read his written address. And then Govind Ballabh Pant passed a most inexplicable resolution, that the new President would have to take concurrence of Gandhi in nominating his committee members. This was outrageous proposal as it meant a virtual dictatorship of Gandhi and his supporters in Congress and the democratic norms were reduced to farce. Pant resolution was passed and it was an outright humiliation. Yet Subhas Chandra Bose tried his best to form a committee, but Gandhiji was elusive. He would not accept anybody other than his members in the committee but would not say so, instead he advised Subhas to form his own committee which Subhas could not as he was bound by the Pant resolution. This created a deadlock and there was no way to break the impasse. Gandhiji did not leave his Rajkot problem to resolve this issue and therefore no alternative existed in front of Subhas than to resign the post of President and go alone. This was exactly what Gandhi loyalists wanted. Subhas Chandra Bose was defeated by force. But they were not prepared for his next masterstroke - of forming a party within Congress with the leftist block to carry out his own agenda, and he had a huge popularity. Now they had to wait for another opportunity for getting rid of him from Congress altogether.

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