Surat Split refers to the splitting of the Congress party into ‘Moderates’ and ‘Extremists‘ after a violent clash at the session.
The extremists were led by Lokmanya Tilak, Lajpat Rai and Sri Aurobindo and the moderates were led by Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Pherozeshah Mehta and Surendranath Banerjee.
Moderates believed in the policy of settlement of minor issues with the government by deliberations.
But the extremists believed in agitation, strikes and boycotts to force their demands.
Some nationalists led by Lokmanya Tilak agitated against the moderate behaviour of congress against British rule.
The split between these two sections became outward at the end of Banaras Session of congress (1905).
Lokmanya Tilak and his followers held a separate conference and declared the formation of the Extremist Party. However they decided to work as a part of the Indian National Congress.
Difference between moderates and extremists further widened in Calcutta Session of congress (1906) and there were attempts between them to elect one of them as the president of congress.
The moderates opposed the resolutions on Swaraj, Swadeshi, Boycott of foreign goods and National Education and requested to withdraw from the policy laid down in the Calcutta session.
But the extremists were not ready to do so.
The Extremists wanted the 1907 session to be held in Nagpur (Central Provinces) with Tilak or Lajpat Rai as the president
The Moderates wanted the session at Surat and supported Dr. Rashbihari Ghosh to be the President.
But Lala Lajpat Rai stepped down and Dr. Rashbihari Ghosh became the President.
The British Government immediately launched a massive attack on the extremists and Extremist newspapers were suppressed.