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The Indian National Congress (About this sound pronunciation ), abbr. INC, also commonly called the Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is one of the largest and oldest democratically-operating political parties in the world. The Organisation was founded during the British Colonial times in 1885. The founders included a prominent member of the Theosophical Society, Allan Octavian Hume, Dadabhai Naoroji and Dinshaw Wacha. In the following decades, the Indian National Congress became a pivotal participant in the Indian Independence Movement, with over 15 million members and over 70 million participants in its struggle against British colonial rule in India.

After independence in 1947, it became the nation's dominant political party; in the 15 general elections since independence, the Congress has won an outright majority on six occasions, and has led the ruling coalition a further four times, heading the central government for a total of 49 years.There have been seven Congress Prime Ministers, the first being Jawaharlal Nehru, serving from 1947–64 and the most recent being Manmohan Singh, serving from 2004-14. The party's social liberal platform is largely considered to be on the centre-left of the Indian political spectrum.

From 2004–14, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, a coalition of several regional parties, formed the government, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In November 2014, Congress was in power in ten states. In six states—Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Mizoram—the party had a majority on its own. In three other states—Assam, Kerala and Uttarakhand—it shared power with other alliance partners. Congress has previously directly ruled Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Goa. In the general elections in 2014, the Congress registered its worst performance in a general election in independent India, winning only 44 seats of the 543-member house.

Social policy of the INC is officially based upon the Gandhian principle of Sarvodaya (upliftment of all sections of the society). In particular INC emphasises upon policies to improve the lives of the economically underprivileged and socially unprivileged sections of society. The party primarily endorses social liberalism (seeks to balance individual liberty and social justice) and secularism (asserting the right to be free from religious rule and teachings).


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