Modern History Simplified: Turns and twists in the politics of Partition in 1940s – Cabinet Mission (1946)

Cabinet Mission (1946)

  1. Grouping of existing provincial assemblies into three sections:
Group/Section AHindu-majority provincesMadras, Bombay, Central Provinces, United Provinces, Bihar and Orissa
Group/Section BMuslim-majority provinces – West Punjab, North-West Frontier Province and Sindh
Group/Section CMuslim-majority provinces – EastBengal and Assam
  1. Three-tier executive and legislature at provincial, section/group and union levels.
  2. A constituent assembly was to be elected by provincial assemblies by proportional representation (voting in three groupsGeneral, Muslims, Sikhs).
  3. In the constituent assembly, members from groups A, B and C were to sit separately to decide the constitution for provinces and if possible, for the groups also. Then, the whole constituent assembly (all three sections A, B and C combined) would sit together to formulate the union constitution.
  4. A common centre would control defence, communication and external affairs
  5. A federal structure was envisaged for India. Provinces were to have full autonomy and residual powers.
  6. Princely states were no longer to be under paramountcy of the British government. They would be free to enter into an arrangement with successor governments or the British government.
  7. After the first general elections, a province was to be free to come out of a group and after 10 years, a province was to be free to call for a reconsideration of the group or the union constitution. Meanwhile, an interim government was to be formed from the constituent assembly.
  8. Rejection of the demand for a full-fledged Pakistan.
Post the Cabinet Mission’s proposals
  1. The Muslim League and Congress accepted the proposals of the Cabinet Mission on June 6th and June 24th  1946 respectively.
  2. Interim Government headed by Nehru was sworn in on September 2, 1946.
  3. Wavell convinced and  brought the Muslim League into the Interim Government on October 26, 1946
  4. The League had only sought a foothold in the government to fight for Pakistan. For them, it was a continuation of the civil war by other means. The Congress demand that the British get the League to change its attitude in the Interim Government or quit was voiced ever since the League joined the Interim Government. A crisis seemed to be developing rapidly.

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