The Indian National Congress, colloquially the Congress Party but often simply Congress, is a political party in India with widespread roots. Founded in 1885, it was the first modern nationalist movement to emerge in the British Empire in Asia and Africa.
From the late 19th century, and especially after 1920, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Congress became the principal leader of the Indian independence movement. Congress led India to independence from the United Kingdom, and powerfully influenced other anti-colonial nationalist movements in the British Empire.
The Congress today is one of the two major political parties in India. It is a big tent party whose platform is generally considered to lie in the centre to centre-left of Indian politics. On social issues, it advocates secular policies that encourage equal opportunity, right to health, civil liberty and welfare of weaker sections and minorities, with support for a mixed economy.
After Indian independence, the Congress emerged as a catch-all party under Nehru, dominating Indian politics for the next 20 years. During this time, the Congress generally advocated socialist policies, and established a secular state.
However, it lost the 1996 general election, and was replaced in government by the National Front and then the Bharatiya Janata Party.