The Wavell Plan and Election of 1945

Aftermath of Quit India Movement

In the previous post we have read about the Quit India Movement. In this movement though the leaders were in jail but the masses did not give and fought for the ultimate goal of freedom.

The struggle with the British Government continued until the end of 1944. The state was not ready to accept demand and the masses were not ready to surrender. The political deadlock continued in India.

Muslim League v/s Congress

Muslim League was represented by the Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Jinnah was a member of Congress previously but due to ideological differences, he became the leader of the communalists.

In March 1944, Mr C Rajagopalachari came out with certain provisions to have a settlement between Muslim League and Congress. Actually, every nationalist leader wanted to avoid the cause of partition of India. So, Rajagopalachari representing nationalists gave provisions,

  • The Muslim League should unite with Congress and pressurize the British Government for complete independence.
  • After the World War-II, a plebiscite should be conducted in Muslim-majority areas, to know whether the masses approve for the separate state or not.
  • If the partition is going to be the last resort, then agreements would be made for Defence, Communication and other essential matters.
  • All these terms were to be binding only if Britain transfers full power and responsibility to the Government of India.

Unfortunately, Mohammad Ali Jinnah rejected all the provisions and adhered to his demand for a Muslim State. By the time, World War-II ended in 1945. But the conflict in Indian leaders increased due to the pressure of Muslim League for the Partition of India. So, to entertain Indians now came the 2nd last Governor-General ie Lord Wavell.

The Wavell Plan, 1945

Lord Wavell, 1943
Lord Wavell, 1943

Lord Wavell succeeded Lord Linlithgow. He came to India to resolve the issue of political deadlock. In early 1945, members of Congress Working Committee were let out of jail.

Lord Wavell on 25th June 1945, invited Congress and Muslim League to resolve the issue between them in Shimla. This was Shimla Conference. Gandhi also attended this conference. But the conference failed to conclude.

Actually, on 11th July 1945, Jinnah had a conversation with Lord Wavell. In this conversation, Jinnah has made it clear that the Muslim League would be the sole representative of Indian Muslims. So, Wavell did not agree with this and this led to the failure of the conference.

At some press conference, Jinnah said,

On a final examination and analysis of the Wavell Plan, we found that it was a snare… this arrangement by which… we would have signed our death warrant. Next, in the proposed Executive we would be reduced to a minority of one-third. All the other minorities such as Scheduled Caste, Sikhs and Christians have the same goal as the Congress. On the top of this came the last straw…So, we finally broke with the Wavell Plan.

Unfortunately, it was not only Jinnah but also a lot of people became the victim of British communal politics. 🙁

Elections of 1945

Later in the 1945 elections was conducted in India to resolve the political deadlock. But the results of the elections were shockingly in the favour of Congress.

Muslim League even in Sindh and Bengal province did not get a complete majority and have to form a coalition government.

Election of 1945-46
Election of 1945-46