A significant feature of the twentieth century was the development of Socialist ideas in Congress and outside it. Peasants now started asking for land reforms, abolition of zamindari system and reduction in the revenue and debt relief.

The All India Trade Union Congress which was founded in 1920 worked towards improvement in the workers’ working and living condition. It mobilised the workers to the cause of complete independence which helped the movement to be broad based. Some of the prominent socialist and communist leaders were M.N. Roy, S.A. Dange, Abani Mukhopadhyaya, Nalini Gupta, Muzaffar Ahmed, Shaukat Usmani, Gulam Hussain, Singaravelu Chettair, G.M. Adhikari and P.C. Joshi.

They outlined the course of the revolution through transformation of individual strike into a general political strike, the development of spontaneous peasant movements, a nationwide movement for complete independence, as well as the spread of revolutionary propaganda among the police and the army. Struggle against imperialism was the rallying slogan.

In 1936, when Nehru was the President of the Congress, he declared at the Lucknow Session that the solution to India’s problems lay in the adoption of socialist ideas. Nehru was deeply influenced by Karl Marx. Even Subhash Chandra Bose was influenced by socialist ideas. Because of differences with Gandhi, Bose resigned from the Congress and formed his own ‘Forward Bloc’.