Vallabhbhai Patel on Congress Plan of Action in Congress Majority Provinces

Vallabhbhai Patel on Congress Plan of Action in Congress Majority Provinces

AICC Papers, F. No. 1(a)/1936-37, 5th May1937

Dear Friend,

                As the policy of the Government in the various Provinces, in which the Congress commands a majority, is now definitely fixed, it is necessary for us now to start our plan of action. In all these provinces ‘bogus’ Ministers which have been styled as Interim Ministries have been formed. The ostensible object is to allow some time, for a reconsideration of the situation created by the refusal of the Congress Party to form Ministries consequent upon the Anglo-Indian Press which with one voice welcomed our Delhi formula, have suddenly changed their front with remarkable rapidity and unanimity. Some of them now have started appealing to the Congress leaders for reconsideration of their attitude. It is the usual way of preparing ground for throwing blame on the Congress for the break-down when they see that the Government have made up their mind the other way. The Congress has nothing to reconsider. It keeps no secrets and its policy has been open and above board. It is also unlikely, that the Government will now reconsider its position, as from the uniform nature of the answers given by the different Governors it appears, that their policy has been dictated from the Whitehall. Under the circumstances there are two alternatives left. (1) The Governor suspending the Constitution by a proclamation and taking over all the responsibility of administration on himself at the end of six months. (2) Before the expiry of the period of six months the Legislatures may be called, when the Ministry is bound to go, unless in the meantime, these Ministries succeed in reducing the strength of the Congress Party, so as to make their position stable. The first course is most unlikely. It is also highly unlikely that the ministry will succeed in any Province in breaking the Congress strength to any appreciable extent, if at all. On the contrary, in all probability, the other groups and individuals will join the Congress party in removing those unwanted ministries at the very first opportunity. It is more than probable that the first meeting of the Legislatures will be called in July or latest in August, and it is certain that when these ministries are faced with their respective Assemblies, they will have to go. The Legislatures then in all probability I will be dissolved and a fresh struggle of the elections will follow as a matter of course.

                Under these circumstances, the Congress Party in the various assemblies should from now organise its campaign to meet the situation that is likely to arise. I suggest, that a representation explaining a vote of no-confidence in these ministries should be organised in all Provinces and submitted forthwith to the Governors concerned. Signatures on such representation should secured from all groups and individuals, who are ready to join in such a vote of no-confidence, in addition to the signatures of all members of the Congress Party. No time should be lost in organising such a representation. It should then be published in the press also. This representation should contain a demand for immediate summoning of the Assembly.

Provincial Conventions of Congress members in the Legislatures may be organised and there also resolutions expressing a vote of no-confidence and a demand for calling a meeting of the Assembly should be passed and a programme of work for immediately educating the constituencies from which these members have been elected should be drawn up. Intensive campaign should be carried on all over the Province. The voters should be informed of the possible consequences of the present situation and of the possibility of a fresh election in the near future, so that when the time comes they may be prepared to return the Congress in a greater majority. The Congress organisation should be strengthened and the Congress machinery should be perfected during this interval for a swift and successful election struggle, which is bound to come much sooner than is expected. It must be remembered that when the next election comes there will be very short notice and we must keep our machinery in order from now.

Yours Sincerely,

Vallabhbhai Patel - Chairman