Thursday, March 25, 2010
Election of 1937 (contd-4)
Jawaharlal's confidence in his political line was reinforced by the dramatic results of the elections in Jan and Feb 1937. in 1920, 7 million Indians had been eligible for the vote ; this time the electorates was 36 million spread over 1,585 seats in the 11 provincial legislatures of British India in a total population of some 300 million . Of them 808 were general seats, and 777 were 'tied' or reserved special representation, for Muslims, of course, but also landlords, Europeans, business men, etc. despite the odds , the congress won 456 of the 808 seats, securing absolute majorities in the United Provinces ,Madras, Central provinces, Bihar and orissa and emerging as the single largest party in Bombay, Bengal, Assam and the NWFP.
The Congress won 65 % of the votes and 159 seats out of 215 in Madras, 75 % of the votes and 98 out 152 seats in Bihar ; 61 % of the vote and 70 out of 112 seats of Central Provinces ; 56 % of the vote and 86 of 175 seats in Bombay ; 65 % of the vote and 134 out of 228 seats in UP ; and 60 % of the vote and 36 out of 60 seats in Orissa.
The Party also did well in NWFP with 38 % of the vote and 19 out of 50 seats , and was easily able to form a Govt when the signal from the working committee came. it had faired reasonably well in Bengal with 25 % of the vote and 56 out of 250 (Bengal was the largest province)and Assam with 33 seats out of 108. But the party was routed in Sindh with 7 seats out of 60 and Punjab with 18 seats out of 175 where the landlords and smaller landowners effectively reduced the congress to an Urban Hindu party, neither the Sikh nor the Muslim peasantry were willing to vote Congress in preference to the Unionists...
Jawaharlal was particularly elated that the Congress had overcome the challenge posed by both Hindu and Muslim Communal-ism, as well as reactionaries like the landlord-dominated National Agriculturist party of Agra and Awadh upon whom the British had been banking heavily; the NAP had got only 13 seats in Agra and 12 in Awadh.
The total Muslim votes cast was 7,319,445of which league got only 321,772 i.e. 4.4 %. It must be stressed once again it was proved that though the electorates were communal but they rejected the league . In Madras, the League got 10 out of 28 Muslim seats, in Bombay 20 out of 29 ; in Assam 9 out of 34 ; in Bengal 39 out of 117 ; in UP 27 out of 64 ; and in Punjab 2 out of 84 ; In NWFP could not secure a single seat out of 36 ; none also out of 36 seats in Bihar ; 14 seats in CP and 4 seats in Orissa.