What led to the split in congress in 1907 at Surat?

There had always been a distrust between the moderates and the extremists in the Congress. In 1907 a controversy over the President-ship of Congress was brewing. Tilak was not popular among the moderates whereas Pal and Aurobindo wanted Tilak to be the President. Moderates, therefore straight away informal Dadabhai Naoroji to accept the President-ship.

This gesture of moderates annoyed the extremists —Tilak, Pal, Ashwini Kumar Dutt, G.S. Khaparde etc. formed a group and started pressurising the administration. These extremists were in majority and had enough local support. Resolutions on the Partition of Bengal, Swadeshi and Boycott were rephrased and amended under pressure from the extremists.

Though Extremists had faith to get Tilak elected as President, but they succeeded in having their way and emerged as a strong force. Moderates were obviously humiliated. Again both moderates and extremists participated in the Swadeshi Movement, but with extremely different views on the issue. Differences of temperament and ideology and clash of personalities permieated bitter feeling among both the groups. During the Surat meeting in 1907 when Rash Behari Bose was elected the Congress President and Tilak was not allowed even to speak on the issue the situation ignited and led to the split in the Congress.

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