Indian National Congress Session: List of INC Sessions and their Presidents

By Balaji

Updated on: March 1st, 2023

The first Indian National Congress Session was conducted in Bombay from 28 to 31 December 1885 by Allan Octavian Hume, who was a retired Civil Service officer. The Indian National Congress (INC), also known as the Congress Party or just the Congress, is a well-established political party in India. It was the first contemporary nationalist movement to arise throughout the British Empire in Asia and Africa when it was founded in 1885. Under Mahatma Gandhi’s direction, Congress took the lead in the Indian independence struggle starting in the late 19th century and notably after 1920.

The Congress had a vital role in the British Empire’s various anti-colonial nationalist movements as well as in the independence of India from the United Kingdom. The Congress is frequently referred to as the “great old party” due to its long and rich history. This article shall present the Indian National Congress Sessions with their significant details. It will also map out the extensive history of the party briefly along with its foundational story.

Table of content

  • 1. What is Indian National Congress Session? (more)
  • 2. Objectives of Indian National Congress (more)
  • 3. Important Indian National Congress Sessions from 1885 to 1947 (more)
  • 4. Indian National Congress Session List (1885 – 1947) (more)
  • 5. History of Indian National Congress Session (more)
  • 6. INC Sessions UPSC (more)

What is Indian National Congress Session?

The Indian National Congress also known as Congress Party, was established in 1885. The INC is one of the effective political parties facing opposition from other recognized parties like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) to name a few.

Indian National Congress Session List PDF

The Indian National Congress sessions were organized at different places in successive years with every session contributing its own significance to the political history of India. Primarily, the Congress session is divided into four segments namely:

  • (1885-1900): Founding years
  • (1900-1947): Pre-independence Period
  • (1947-1990): Post-independence Period
  • (1990-2019): Post-liberalization Period.

Objectives of Indian National Congress

Founded in 1885, the Indian National Congress is one of the oldest political parties in the world. It was a broad-based party encompassing all sections of the society that took the lead during the Indian Independence struggle.

While the primary goal of the INC was to create a sense of national unity, there were many other objectives that one should know.

  • The first and foremost objective of the INC was to get rid of British colonial rule.
  • To promote the nation-building process by including all sections of society.
  • The INC was committed to social inclusion regardless of caste, gender and religion and vouched for equal rights of all communities and the upliftment of the underprivileged.
  • Promoting political consciousness and political awakening among the citizens of the country.
  • Lastly, the Indian National Congress aimed to promote political liberal democracy, anti-colonial ideology and democratic culture among the people.

Important Indian National Congress Sessions from 1885 to 1947

The Indian National Congress has had a critical role in influencing India’s political scenario. Comprising prominent leaders such as Nehru, Bose, Gandhi, and more, the INC was the first contemporary nationalist movement party in the country.

We have provided a summary of the prominent INC sessions of the party from 1885 to 1947 below:

  • 1885: The first session of Indian National Congress was held in 1885 under the presidency of W C Bonnerjee in Bombay. 72 delegates attended the session.
  • 1896: The national song of the country ‘Vande Mataram’ was sung for the first time in 1896.
  • 1907: The Indian National Congress was divided into two sections – Extremists and moderates.
  • 1911: The national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was sung for the first time in this session.
  • 1917: The first women president of the INC was appointed in this session.
  • 1919: The massacre of Jallianwala Bagh was strictly condemned and criticized in this session.
  • 1925: The first Indian woman president was appointed in this session, and it was Sarojini Naidu.
  • 1929: It was the Lahore session where the resolution for Poorna Swaraj was taken, and 26 January was marked as Independence Day.
  • 1931: The Irwin-Gandhi pact was approved, and Gandhi was proposed as the representative of INC for the second round table conference.
  • 1938: The National planning committee was set up under the leadership of Pandit Nehru.
  • 1948: This was the first session to be held after the country’s independence.

Indian National Congress Session List (1885 – 1947)

Since 1880, educated Indians have acknowledged the requirement for an all-India organization, but the Ilbert Bill dispute fueled this urge even more. One of the most significant political organizations of the 20th century was born with the foundation of Indian National Congress (INC).

Since the INC has held a significant role in the country’s political scenario. Below, we have tabulated the Indian National congress session list from 1885 to 1947.

INC Session List from 1885 to 1947
INC President List Location Year Importance
W C Bonnerjee Bombay 1885 1st session was attended by 72 delegates
Dadabhai Naoroji Calcutta 1886 National Congress and National Conference
Syed Badruddin Tyabji Madras 1887 Appeal made to Muslims to join hands with other national leaders
George Yule Allahabad 1888 First English president
Sir William Wedderburn Bombay 1889
Feroz Shah Mehta Calcutta 1890
P. Ananda Charlu Nagpur 1891
W C Bonnerjee Allahabad 1892
Dadabhai Naoroji Lahore 1893
Alfred Webb Madras 1894
Surendranath Banerjee Poona 1895
Rahimtullah M. Sayani Calcutta 1896 National song ‘Vande Mataram’ sung for the first time
C. Sankaran Nair Amravati 1897
Ananda Mohan Bose Madras 1898
Romesh Chandra Dutt Lucknow 1899
N G Chandavarkar Lahore 1900
Dinshaw E. Wacha Calcutta 1901
Surendranath Banerjee Ahmedabad 1902
Lal Mohan Ghosh Madras 1903
Sir Henry Cotton Bombay 1904
Gopal Krishna Gokhale Benares 1905 Expressed anger against the partition of Bengal
Dadabhai Naoroji Calcutta 1906 The word ‘Swaraj’ was mentioned for the first time
Rash Behari Ghosh Surat 1907 Party splits into extremists and moderates
Rash Behari Ghosh Madras 1908 Continued revious session
Madan Mohan Malaviya Lahore 1909 Indian Councils Act, 1909
Sir William Wedderburn Allahabad 1910
Bishan Narayan Dhar Calcutta 1911 ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was sung for the first time
Raghunath Narasinha Mudholkar Bankipore (Patna) 1912
Syed Mohammed Karachi 1913
Bhupendra Nath Basu Madras 1914
Satyendra Prasanna Sinha Bombay 1915
Ambica Charan Mazumdar Lucknow 1916 Lucknow Pact was made in this joint session with the Muslim League
Annie Besant (1847 – 1933) Calcutta 1917 First woman president of the INC
Syed Hasan Imam (Bombay) And Madan Mohan Malaviya (Delhi) Bombay And Delhi 1918 Two sessions were held. First in Bombay in August/September Second in Delhi in December
Motilal Nehru Amritsar 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre criticised and condemned
C Vijayaraghavachariar Nagpur 1920
Hakim Ajmal Khan (acting President For C R Das) Ahmedabad 1921
C R Das Gaya 1922
Maulana Mohammad Ali, Kakinada 1923
M K Gandhi Belgaum 1924
Sarojini Naidu (1879 – 1949) Kanpur 1925 First Indian woman president
S Srinivasa Iyengar Guwahati 1926
M A Ansari Madras 1927
Motilal Nehru Calcutta 1928 All India Youth Congress formed
Jawaharlal Nehru Lahore 1929 Resolution for “Poorna Swaraj.” Campaign for total independence to be started by the Civil Disobedience Movement; 26 January to be marked as “Independence Day.”
No Session 1930
Vallabhbhai Patel Karachi 1931 Resolution on national economic development and fundamental rights. Irwin-Gandhi Pact was approved. Gandhi was proposed as the INC representative at the second round table conference.
Amrit Ranchhorddas Seth Delhi 1932
Malaviya Was Elected But Mrs Nellie Sengupta Presided Calcutta 1933
Rajendra Prasad Bombay 1934
Jawaharlal Nehru Lucknow 1937
Jawaharlal Nehru Faizpur 1936 First rural session/first session to be held in a village
Subhas Chandra Bose Haripura 1938 National planning committee set up under Nehru
Subhas Chandra Bose Tripuri 1939 Despite being elected, Bose was forced to resign because Gandhi backed Pattabhi Sitaramayya. Rajendra Prasad was appointed instead.
Abul Kalam Azad Ramgarh 1940
1941-45 No session because of arrest
Acharya Kripalani Meerut 1946 Last session before independence
Pattabhi Sitaramayya Jaipur 1948 First session after independence
Purushottam Das Tandon Nashik 1950 Resigned in 1951; Nehru became President
Jawaharlal Nehru Delhi 1951
Jawaharlal Nehru Hyderabad 1953
Jawaharlal Nehru Kalyani 1954
U. N. Dhebar Avadi(madras) 1955
U. N. Dhebar Amritsar 1956
U. N. Dhebar Gauhati 1958
Indira Gandhi Nagpur 1959
Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy Bangalore 1960
Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy Bhavnagar 1961
Damodaran Sanjvayya Bhubaneshwar 1962
Damodaran Sanjvayya Patna 1963
K. Kamaraj Bhubaneshwar 1964
K. Kamaraj Durgapur 1965

History of Indian National Congress Session

The Indian National Congress (INC), which was founded in 1885, quickly rose to prominence as one of the country’s most significant political organizations before independence. In 1885, the first meeting of the Indian National Congress took place.

A party of commoners having notable leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lajpat Rai, Gandhi, Nehru, Bose, etc. as members, it began as an organization made up only of the intellectual elite in India.

  • At Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Mumbai on December 28, 1885, the Indian National Congress was established by 72 delegates (then Bombay)
  • Allan Octavian Hume, a former Indian Civil Services Officer, started it.
  • The Congress was established with the goal of fostering a climate that would allow for polite dialogue between Indians and the British.
  • The only educated Indians were those who participated in Congress.
  • The British could obtain support for their rule in India through Congress.
  • This was made feasible because educated Indians were more receptive to modernization ideas and could therefore influence other Indians.
  • The General Secretary of the Congress was Allan Octavian Hume, and the President of the Congress was Womesh Chunder Banerjee.
  • As years moved by, some Congress members became inspired by the Swadeshi movement and desired to adhere to the idea of “home rule.”
  • Mahatma Gandhi converted the Congress from an exclusive to a people-centred party after being elected president in 1919, despite opposition.
  • Many concerns, including caste inequality, the healthcare system, illiteracy, and the purdah regime, were solved with Mahatma Gandhi’s assistance.
  • The Quit India Movement, the establishment of the Indian National Army Defense Committee, and the regrettable Partition of India and Pakistan were all events that the Congress witnessed at the end of British rule.

INC Sessions UPSC

Knowing the complete INC or Indian National Congress Session list is important for the perspective of the UPSC exam. This article will provide details about the Indian National Congress President list to all aspiring candidates.

INC sessions UPSC topic comes under the subject of History for UPSC Prelims, Mains General Studies – 1 and History Optional. IAS aspirants preparing for UPSC 2023 must carefully study the UPSC syllabus and exam pattern for a better insight into the examination and accordingly outline the preparation strategy.

UPSC Notes
Indian Judiciary Indian Foreign Policy
Indian National Movement Important Committees and Commissions
Sessions of Parliament Types of Majority in Parliament
Parliamentary Committees Salient Features of Indian Constitution
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