Political Parties and Political Leaders
Some parties and political factions were present in India before independence, but it was the Indian National Congress that dominated the political scene. As an umbrella organization leading the freedom movement, it was able to attract persons of diverse ideological persuasions and political goals who were willing to work toward achieving independence for the country. Whereas the Muslim League in Pakistan disintegrated soon after the creation of a Muslim majority state, it was fortunate for India that the Congress not only survived but also was converted from a loosely organized freedom movement into a cadre-based mass party. In 1948, at the urging of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Congress party Working Committee (the party's top executive organization) passed a resolution banning factions that had their own constitutions or organizational structure and had previously been allowed to operate within the Indian National Congress. This action led to the exit of various factions, which then converted themselves into new political parties. When the Congress became the ruling party of India, for many dissidents the only course left open was to form opposition parties.
There is a remarkable similarity in the socioeconomic background of the leaders of the various political parties of India. Most of the leaders of the opposition parties who left the Indian National Congress originated from the same stratum of the society, had the same type of educational background, and shared the experience of the freedom movement. Most of them originated in the upper or upper middle classes. Most were educated in the West or in schools in India that followed a Western curricu-