Monday, March 29, 2010

Election of 1937 (contd-8)

The 1937 election resulted in  a major shift in Indian politics, the won in seven provinces (shown by blue ink) and lost four provinces (shown by red ink).The Congress success worried the Muslims. Jinnah grasped this moment and suggested the Muslims would be left to contend with a Hindu Govt. after withdrawal of the British.He stated that "Hindu  Congress" was putting "Islam In danger."
This was an effective move by Jinnah, especially in Punjab, where the Muslim League had to fend off not just the Congress , whose support base was Hindus living in the cities, but also the Unionist party , founded in 1922,by peasant leaders Fazl-e-Hussain (a Muslim) and Chattu Ram (a Hindu). This party won all the elections between 1923 to 1937. However, Fazl-e-Hussain died in 1936 and in Sept 1037, the new party leader Sikandar Hayat Khan (Punjabi Politician) agreed to sign a pact with Jinnah.Sikandar Hatat Khan's motives remain unclear, but it is suspected that he hoped to became the leader of the Muslim Leaguein his own Province, if not its ultimate leader. Whatever be the reason, this helped the Muslim League to curve put a niche in Punjab. This helped the League in future.
In Sindh, the Muslim League remained at the margins till the mid-1940s.Just as in Punjab, it faced two parties, Congress and the Sindh United Party, which had been founded in 1936when the Sindh province came into being .Its inspiration was the Punjab Unionist Party. The Muslim League first gained a foothold in Sindh in the 1930s over the Manjilgarh issue, named after a very controversial site that the Muslim league wanted to officially declare as a mosque.
The Muslim League in Sindh was more interested in defending Sindhi culture than in creating an Islamic state for British Raj Muslims.This was obvious from the behavior of its leader in the 1940s , G.M.Syaed who left Congress in 1938 to become the leader of the Muslim League in Sindh.
In Bengal Muslim League enjoyed more support than other majoritarian Provinces.But even here , it gained strength later on. Its popularity was based on its ability to create separatist feelings in East Bengal where the Muslims were mostly concentrated,here again, Muslim League had to face off two two parties in the 1930s; the Congress and the Krishak Proja Party , founded in 1936 by A.K.Fazlul Haq. This party narrowly ousted the Muslim League by winning 31 % of the votes, compared to Mulim League's 27% in the 1937 Elections. But since Congress refused to a coalition ministry with KPP, Muslim League got the chance of accepting office and by that way incresedits popularity and gained 104 sseats out of 111 in the election of 1946.
In NWFP, the Muslim League faced its hardest challenge yet. It had intense competition from khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan known as the "frontier Gandhi" due to his efforts in following the footsteps of Gandhi. The popularity of the Congress, along with the strong Paktoon identity created by Ghaffar Khan in the cultural and the political arenas made life hard for the Muslim league. With the support of the Ghaffer khan, the Congress was able to contain the Muslim league to the non-Paktoon areas, paritcularly the hazara region . The Muslim League could only manage to win 17 seats against 30 won by Congress in the 1946 election.