Socialist Party of India

Socialist Party of India

 

(SPI). Socialist organizations first appeared throughout India in 1934, when the Congress Socialist Party (CSP) was founded within the Indian National Congress (also known as the Congress). In 1940–41, the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) separated from the CSP. The RSP, which had been formed in 1938 and functioned as part of the CSP, had adherents mainly in Bengal and Kerala. Just before and after India’s independence in 1947, a number of groupings left the CSP, some joining the Congress, and some, the Communist Party of India (CPI). In 1948 the CSP was reorganized as an independent party and was renamed the Socialist Party of India.

The SPI existed until 1952, when it united with a group of right-wing petit bourgeois Gandhians who had left the Congress in 1950-51. The new organization, called the Praja Socialist Party (PSP), assumed a right-wing opportunist, anticommunist, anti-Soviet course, which led to a split in 1954-55. In 1955 a left-wing socialist grouping, which had broken from the PSP and was led by R. M. Lohia, assumed the party’s former name, the Socialist Party of India. At the same time, the supporters of J. P. Narayan, one of the founders of the CSP, joined the Gandhian Sarvodaya movement.

In the early 1960’s the grouping headed by A. Mehta, which had led the PSP from 1952, left the PSP and joined the Congress. In 1964 the SPI and PSP merged as the United Socialist Party (USP). However, the USP’s hostility toward the Congress and the desire of the left-wing faction under Lohia to collaborate with the CPI led to another split, and a new PSP was founded in 1965. In 1971 the USP and PSP, weakened by their struggle with the Congress and the CPI, were united once again as the Socialist Party of India.

In the parliamentary elections of 1977 the SPI joined the Jan Sangh, the Bharatiya Lok Dal, the Congress Organization, and the Congress for Democracy in the Janata Party bloc. After the bloc won the elections, the SPI and the other parties of the bloc formed a single Janata Party.

L. A. ZUENKOV [24-671-1; updated]

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