Subhash Chandra Bose and Congress Tripuri Session 1939
The British Government was keen on Bose taking interest in the Axis Powers and the developing Gandhi Bose strife. In December 1938, Bose had a meeting with two representatives of the German Nazi Party. Here, Bose told the Nazis that the Hitler regime must stop insulting the Indians. In India, Nazis were not liked because of their deeds of extinguishing the democracy, eliminating the socialist ideas.
For the 1939 elections of the President of Congress, Subhash announced his candidature knowing that he would be opposed. By this time, Nehru was on a long holiday in Europe. When he returned in 1938, Gandhi suggested him to announce his name as a candidate. But he declined and suggested the name of Maulana Azad. But Maulana Azad withdrew his name and then new name came up was of Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, an Andhra leader. But Subhash was not sure of his win. The result was declared on January 29, 1939 and Subhash secured 1580 Votes. Sitaramaya got 1377 votes, thus Subhash winning by a narrow but clear margin.
- But the defeat of Sitaramayya was taken by Gandhi as a personal blow. He said “
… I am glad of his (Subhash’s) victory….and since I was instrumental in inducing Dr. Pattabhi not to withdraw his name after Maulana Azad Sahib done so, the defeat is more mine than his….”.
Gandhi said that Bose was president in his own right. He should form his own working committee and run the congress. Gandhi said that
“…after all Subhash Babu is not the enemy of our country…he has suffered for it”. In His opinion, his is the most forward and boldest policy and programme….the minority can only wish him all the best”..
The constitution of Congress did not provide for the removal of the President and the delegates vote was something which could not be reversed. The Congress Working committee was still controlled by the followers of Gandhi. Thus , Subhash might reign but could not rule.
In March 1939, Congress met at annual session at Tripuri near Jabalpur.
Prior to this session, Bose fell ill (which may be a psychological reaction to the stress) just before February 20-21, when a meeting of Congress Working Committee was held in Wardha. Subhash was unable to reach and so sent a telegram to Patel to postpone the meeting of working committee till the annual session. He had also sent a telegram to Gandhi to nominate the working committee as his wish, but strangely Gandhi DID NOT SUGGEST any name.
But this telegram hurt the congressmen. They said that this demonstrates Subhash’s dictatorial ambition, who does not want the congress to do the normal business in his absence. The result was that Patel and other 11 members resigned from the Working Committee. Earlier, Bose had described the followers of Gandhi as of low intellectual level. The members of Congress wanted Subhash to apologize for the slur. He refused.
In this session, when Subhash was brought to the dais on stretcher, one of the congressmen fanned “Why don’t you check whether he has any onions under his armpits” (Onions when kept under armpits raise the temperature of the body).
Such was the disastrous division between Subhash and Gandhi & his followers. Next Month, Subhash resigned from Congress and now he was on an entirely different path. The place was filled by Dr. Rajendra Prasad.