Many intellectuals in Congress were influenced by Socialist ideology. Moreover, the withdrawal of Non-Cooperation Movement strengthened the left wing within the Congress.
In 1920 as a result of the efforts of N. M. Joshi, Lala Lajpat Rai etc., the All Indian Trade Union Congress was founded.
Its declared aim was to co-ordinate activities of all organizations in all the provinces of India, and generally to further the interests of the Indian labour in economic, social and politics matters.
They realized the significance of the working class for the success of the Nationalist Movement and organized workers’ and peasants’ parties.
Socialism within the Congress was born out of this intense intellectual and political exercise. The Socialists preached for national struggle but openly supported political and economic demands of the workers.
They tried to organize peasant and workers on class lines and on these very lines highlighted their demand.
Jawaharlal Nehru and Subash Chandra Bose who had leftist learning in the Congress, advocated the path of Socialism and complete independence for India.
In 1929, the Lahore Session of the Congress adopted complete independence as the goal. Nehru proclaimed himself as a Socialist and a Republican in his presidential address.
In 1931, in the Karachi Session of the Congress Nehru stated that in order to end the exploitation of the masses, political freedom must include real economic freedom of the starving millions.
He went on to demand living wages for workers. This eventually facilitated the formation of the Congress Socialist Party in 1934.
It was an important step in the development of Socialism in India. The Socialists within the Congress believed in Marxist ideas.
The Congress Socialists joined hands with the bourgeois democratic forces within the Congress for carrying on the struggle of national liberation with the help of workers and peasants.
They believed in the efficiency of such techniques as workers strikes and peasants’ agitation for the attainment of freedom from foreign rule.
They believed in class struggle and stood for abolition of capitalism, zamindari and Princely States.