The Indian National Congress came into being as an organization of the new educated, professional and commercial classes which had developed in India during the course of the nineteenth century. Its early leadership consisted of men steeped in British liberal thought who endeavored to learn the British art of governing and to benefit from the blessings of the British constitution. They demanded representation in the legislative councils, a greater share for Indians in the civil service, protection for Indian industries and reduction in unproductive public expenditure. Since the franchise was very restricted, it was not necessary for the aspirants to membership of legislatures to build a mass electoral organization. Their social base remained relatively small. Apart from holding annual sessions and passing resolutions on a variety of public issues, the Congress had no program, except in Bengal during the anti-partition agitation, which required for its implementation a well-developed party organization with a large membership, a body of full-time functionaries, financial resources and agencies to direct and coordinate its activities.

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