Birth of Swaraj Party
The sudden withdrawal of the Non Cooperation Movement left congress with no other such programmes. There was an impatient section of the leaders in Congress whose expectations were wrapped up in the coming up elections in India in 1923, so that they enter into the legislatures and bring “change”. These elections had to be conducted as per the provisions of the Government of India Act 1919.
Pro-changers & No-changers
These leaders were Moti Lal Nehru, N C Kelkar and CR Das. They linked up with some Khilafat leaders such as Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy and some other leaders such as Subhash Chandra Bose & Vithalbhai Patel and were known as Pro-Changers.
But, most of the leaders of Congress had now left the business of agitation for a while and started uplifting the poor people by teaching them how to use Charkha, denouncing untouchability, making nonviolence and Gandhian methods popular. These were called No-changers.
The Gaya session of Congress was organized in 1922, which was led by C R Das, who was leading the Pro-Changers. The No-changers leader was C Rajgopalachari. The outcome of this session was that once again these leaders got divided.
CR Das resigned from the presidentship of the Congress and along with Moti Lal Nehru, N C Kelkar launched their own political outfit called “Congress Khilafat Swarajya Party” or simply the “Swarajya Party”.
- In the elections they got elected in the councils and one among them Vithalbhai Patel became the President at the Central Legislative Assembly, some titular kind of arrangement with very limited powers .
- They could not bring any change except making a noise in the parliament. However, one work was notable. It was making a noise so that the Government appoints Muddiman Committee to bring out the defects in the Government of India Act 1919.
On 5 February 1924, Gandhi was released from Jail due to health problems. He favored the No changers but wanted to stop a disastrous repeat of Sur at split of 1907. So he wanted conciliation and in November that year he brought the strife between no-changers and Swarajists to an end. Both the parties signed the joint statement and declared that Swarajists would work in the council on behalf of and as an integral part of the Congress.
This decision was endorsed in the December 1924 Belgaum Session of Congress in which Gandhi became president of congress for first and only one time. In 1925. C R Das Died and this was followed by Moti Lal Nehru return to congress a few years later. Please note that in Madras Province, a different Madras Province Swarajya Party was established in 1923 by S. Sathyamurthy and S. Srinivasa Iyengar. This party later merged with the Congress in 1935, prior to the elections by the Government of India Act 1935.