Lok Sewak Sangh

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The Lok Sewak Sangh ('Union of Servants of the People', abbreviated LSS), or Manbhum Lok Sewak Sangh, was a political party in Purulia District, West Bengal, India.[1] LSS was founded in 1948.[2] The party was the main political force in Purulia District from the independence of India until the fall of the second United Front cabinet.[3]

It is not to be confused with the Gandhian social movement by the same name.


LSS had been set up as a local social movement in Manbhum, by leaders like Nibaranchandra Dasgupta and Bibhuti Dasgupta, who had been released from jail in the early 1930s.[4] LSS was a Gandhian movement working for Swaraj and social reform.[4] They challenged caste hierarchies, preaching to Adivasis and Dalits to participate in social and political life on equal terms with upper caste Hindus.[4] The organization sought to fight against discrimination against lepers.[4]


LSS was constituted as a political party by former leaders of the Indian National Congress, who had played a leading role in the Quit India movement in Purulia District.[3][5] Notable members of this group included Bibhuti Dasgupta and Arun Ghosh.[3] Through forming LSS they wanted to promote use of Bengali language in Bengali-dominated areas in southern Bihar state.[5] They labelled the imposition of Hindi language as 'linguistic imperialism'.[6] After breaking with the Indian National Congress its elected officials resigned and were re-elected on LSS tickets.[6] The party adhered to Gandhian socialism.[1]

1951–1952 elections[edit]

The party contested the 1951–1952 parliamentary elections as well as the first assembly elections, being able to defeat Congress candidates in some constituencies.[5] In the election to the Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Parliament of India), LSS won the Manbhum South-cum-Dhalbum constituency, which elected two parliamentarians.[7] The LSS parliamentarians were Bhajahari Mahaton and Chaitan Manjhi.[7] LSS had fielded 4 candidates, won together mustered 309,940 votes (0.29% of the national vote).[7]

In the 1952 Bihar Legislative Assembly election, LSS fielded 12 candidates out of whom 7 were victorious.[8] The LSS elected legislators were Sirish Chandra Banerjee (Baghmundi), Dimo Charmahar (Purulia-cum-Hura), Samarendra Nath Ojha (Purulia-cum-Hura), Nitai Singh Sardar (Manbazar-cum-Patamda), Satya Kinkar Mahata (Manbazar-cum-Patamda), Bhim Chandra Mahato (Barabazar-cum-Chandil) and Atul Chandra Singh Bhuiya (Barabazar cum Chandil).[8] In total the 12 LSS candidates mustered 148,921 votes (1.56% of the statewide vote).[8]

Struggle for inclusion in West Bengal[edit]

Ahead of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, LSS organised a movement in 1955 to secure the transfer of Bengali-speaking areas of Bihar into West Bengal.[3] The party organized a march of satyagrahis by foot from Pakbirah village (Manbhum District) to Calcutta, a 480 km walk.[9] The march lasted 16 days, gathering some 1,000 participants.[9] When reaching the vicinity of the West Bengal government headquarters, the march was broken up by police and participants arrested.[9] Some were jailed.[9]

After the reorganisation of the states of India in 1956, most of the areas where LSS was active became part of West Bengal.[5] As of 1956 the leader of the party was Sirish Chandra Banerjee, who became of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1956.[5] In the 1957 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election LSS fielded candidates in all 11 assembly seats in Purulia District.[10]

LSS contested the 1962 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election, fielding 11 candidates. LSS obtained 68,583 votes (0.72% of the statewide vote), winning 4 seats.[11]

United Front[edit]

Ahead of the 1967 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election LSS entered into a seat-sharing agreement with both the People's United Left Front and the United Left Front.[12][13] After the election Bibhuti Dasgupta of LSS was named Minister for Panchayats and Social Welfare in the first United Front government.[14][15]

LSS fielded 6 candidates in the 1969 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election, winning 4 seats.[16] The party obtained 99,844 (0.74%).[16] After the election LSS politician Bibhuti Dasgupta was named Panchayat Minister in the second United Front cabinet.[17]

After the fall of the United Front[edit]

The LSS dominance over Purulia politics was broken after the fall of the United Front.[3] In the 1971 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election LSS fielded 11 candidates, but none was elected.[18] The party obtained 52,980 votes (0.41% of the statewide vote).[18]

The party went into rapid decline.[19] Most of its erstwhile supporters joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist).[19]

Relief work[edit]

In line with Gandhian principles, LSS ran relief activities in during food scarcities, floods and other calamities.[6] It ran an auxiliary organization, Muktiyuddho Sewak Sangh, to help former freedom fighters.[6]


LSS published Mukti ('Liberation') as its weekly organ during many years.[20][6][21] The publication had been founded during the independence struggle.[22] Bibhuti Dasgupta, the general secretary of the party, edited Mukti.[23]

As of the early 1980s, it was issued in 1,000 copies and edited by Arun Chandra Ghosh.[20]


  1. ^ a b Anjali Ghosh (1981). Peaceful Transition to Power: A Study of Marxist Political Strategies in West Bengal, 1967–1977. Firma KLM. p. 25.
  2. ^ Jayanta Kumar Dab (2007). Local Politics and Indian Nationalism, Purulia, 1921–1947. Progressive Publishers. p. 244. ISBN 978-81-8064-136-7.
  3. ^ a b c d e Anis Kumar Majumdar; Bhanwar Singh (1 January 1997). Regionalism In Indian Politics. Radha Publications. p. 133. ISBN 978-81-7487-094-0.
  4. ^ a b c d West Bengal (India); Jatindra Chandra Sengupta (1985). West Bengal district gazetteers. Vol. 12. State editor, West Bengal District Gazetteers. pp. 104–105.
  5. ^ a b c d e R. V. Krishna Ayyar (1956). All India Election Guide. Oriental Publishers. p. 32.
  6. ^ a b c d e Journal of Gandhian Studies. Vol. 10. Gandhi Bhawan, University of Allahabad. 1983. pp. 125, 127, 129.
  7. ^ a b c Election Commission of India. STATISTICAL REPORT ON GENERAL ELECTIONS, 1951 TO THE FIRST LOK SABHA – VOLUME I (NATIONAL AND STATE ABSTRACTS & DETAILED RESULTS) Archived 4 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b c d Marcus F. Franda (8 December 2015). West Bengal and the Federalizing Process in India. Princeton University Press. pp. 55–56. ISBN 978-1-4008-7525-2.
  10. ^ Thought. Vol. 9. Siddharta Publications. 1957. p. 116.
  11. ^ "General Elections, India, 1962, to the Legislative Assembly of West Bengal" (PDF). Election Commission of India. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  12. ^ Profulla Roychoudhury (1977). West Bengal—a Decade, 1965–1975. Boipatra. p. 56.
  13. ^ Link: Indian Newsmagazine. Vol. 9. 1967. p. 16.
  14. ^ Asian Recorder. Vol. 13. 1967. p. 7634.
  15. ^ Subhash C. Kashyap (1974). The politics of power: defections and state politics in India. National Pub. House. p. 509.
  16. ^ a b "General Elections, India, 1969, to the Legislative Assembly of West Bengal" (PDF). Election Commission of India. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  17. ^ Communist Party of India (Marxist). West Bengal State Committee. Election results of West Bengal: statistics & analysis, 1952–1991. The Committee. p. 379. ISBN 9788176260282.
  18. ^ a b "General Elections, India, 1971, to the Legislative Assembly of West Bengal" (PDF). Election Commission of India. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  19. ^ a b Dwaipayan Bhattacharya (8 December 2004). Interrogating Social Capital: The Indian Experience. SAGE Publications. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-7619-3286-4.
  20. ^ a b West Bengal (India). Fact Finding Committee on Small & Medium Newspapers; Sasanka Sekhar Sanyal (1983). Report of the Fact Finding Committee on Small & Medium Newspapers, 1980. Information & Cultural Affairs Department, Government of West Bengal. p. 50.
  21. ^ Jayanta Kumar Dab (2007). Local Politics and Indian Nationalism, Purulia, 1921–1947. Progressive Publishers. p. 248. ISBN 978-81-8064-136-7.
  22. ^ Mainstream. Vol. 27. N. Chakravartty. 1989. p. 32.
  23. ^ India Who's who. INFA Publications. 1973. p. 248.