Today That Day - V J Patel Elected President - Boycott of Viceregal Visit


V. J. Patel elected President

In April, 1924 he was elected President of the Bombay Municipal Corporation for the year 1924. In his place K. F. Nariman was appointed leader of the Party. In his regime as the President of the Corporation the Nationalist members succeeded in presenting a Corporation address to Mr. Gandhi on 29th August 1924.

Boycott of Viceregal Visit

On 25th November 1924 V. J. Patel as President of the Municipal Corporation declined the invitation to attend Viceregal functions on 2nd December, 1924. He was supported by the Nationalist Municipal Party in this attitude. The Bombay Corporation thereupon called an urgent meeting of the Corporation on 1st December 1924 in order to decide whether Mr. Patel should attend the Viceregal functions. The Corporation then resolved that Mr. Patel should attend the Viceregal functions. V. J. Patel, thereupon resigned the Presidentship of the Corporation on 5th December, 1924 as he did not wish to abide by the resolution of the. Corporation. He was congratulated on this attitude by the  Nationalist Municipal Party and other bodies at a public meeting held on 6th December, when the people were asked to be careful at the next elections not to reelect those Corporators who had acted against the voters' wishes in the Corporation.

At the next meeting of the Corporation, however, he was allowed to occupy the Presidential chair.

On the 5th January, 1925, V. J. Patel was re-elected as President of the Corporation. He
secured 50 votes as against 45 of Dr. M. C. Javle, his competitor. Mr. Patel said " Since he had resigned there were several members who cast their favours or disfavours but he had noticed that the Corporation had all along supported him in the chair.

Mr. J. M. Mehta—Except on the 1st of December.

Mr. Patel, continuing, hoped that the Corporation would take him as he was. They knew him well and also his method of work and trusted they would bear with him if he voted against their wishes.

Mr. Patel then recapitulated the reasons of his tendering the resignation. He said His
Excellency the Viceroy had come to Bombay and a few days before the arrival he received all the invitations to the Viceregal functions. He refused to attend the Viceregal functions and at once intimated the fact to the Corporation as he was their representative. Some members naturally felt annoyed for which he did not find fault with them. They brought a requisition and a meeting was called to consider the action he had taken in the matter. The majority passed a resolution asking him to attend the functions. That resolution was passed before the functions took place and he had time and opportunities to attend the functions. It was, however, against his convictions to attend the functions and he deliberately refused to do so and he regarded his election as a reward for standing
by his convictions. He hoped they would take it in the same light.

"Mrs. Harry Hodgkinson—You say, Sir, in your speech that your re-election proves that the Corporation approves of your conduct in refusing to attend the Viceroy's reception. I wish to say, Sir, that I, a member of the Corporation, disapprove of your conduct entirely on that occasion and continue strongly to protest against it.

President—You may differ from me.

Mr. K. F. Nariman— Mrs. Hodgkinson is not the Corporation.

Ref : Source Material for a History of the Freedom Movement in India (Government of Maharashtra - Mumbai)


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