Recollections and reflections

Reminiscences, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

I first came in contact with Subhas Bose in 1923 at Delhi when the Congress was divided into two groups over the question of what was known as 'Council Entry.'...Subhas Babu, as the favourite lieutenant of Deshabandhu, was playing a prominent part in the controversy. more>>

Statement on Presidential Election of Congress

In view of the situation created by the withdrawal of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and after reading the statement that he has issued, it is imperative for me to say something on the subject of the impending Presidential election. In discussing this question all sense of false modesty will have to be put aside for the issue is not a personal one. The progressive sharpening of the anti-imperialist struggle in India has given birth to new ideas, ideologies, problems and programmes. People are consequently veering round to the opinion that as in other free countries the Presidential election in India should be fought on the basis of definite problems and programmes so that the contest may help the clarification of issues and give a clear indication of the working of the public mind. An election contest in these circumstances may not be an undesirable thing.

Up till now I have not received any suggestion or advice from a single delegate asking me to withdraw from the contest. On the contrary I have been nominated as a candidate from several provinces without my knowledge or consent and I have been receiving pressing requests from Socialists as well as non-Socialists in different parts of the country urging me not to retire. Over and above this there seems to be a general feeling that I should be allowed to serve in office for another term. It is possible that this impression of mine is not correct and that my election is not desired by the majority of delegates. But this could be verified only when voting takes place on the 29th January and not earlier.

As a worker my position is perfectly clear. It is not for me to say in what capacity I should serve. That is a matter to be decided by my countrymen and in this particular case by my fellow delegates. But I have no right to decline to serve if and when I am ordered to a particular place. As a matter of fact, I shall be failing in my duty if I shirk any responsibility which may be cast on me. In view of the increasing international tension and the prospective fight over Federation the new year will be a momentous one in our national history. Owing to this and other reasons, if my services in office are demanded by the majority of the delegates with what justification can I withdraw from the contest when the issue involved is not a personal one at all? If, however, as a result of the appeal made by eminent leaders like Maulana Azad the majority of the delegates vote against my re-election I shall loyally abide by their verdict and shall continue to serve the Congress and the country as an ordinary soldier. In view of all these considerations I am constrained to feel that I have no right to retire from the contest. I am, therefore, placing myself unreservedly in the hands of my fellow delegates and I shall abide by their decision.