The Cabinet Mission Plan
The Labour Party came to power in the 1945 and C.R. Attlee became the Prime Minister. He sent a mission of three Cabinet members of India to solve the constitutional problems. It came to be called Cabinet Mission.
The Cabinet Mission consisted of Lord Pathick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A.V. Alexander. It met the leaders of different parties in India but the Indian leaders could not agree among themselves.Maulana Azad as the president of the Congress stressed to establish federal government and Jinnah repeated the Two Nation Theory as a universal reality.
On May 1946, the Cabinet Mission and the Viceroy published a statement containing their own solution of the constitutional problem which is known as Cabinet Mission Plan.
It made the following proposals:
Indian Union comprising British India and princely states.
1. Centre to deal with foreign affairs, defence, communication, taxation.
2. Rest of the subjects with provinces.
3. There will be a legislature and executive comprising representatives of provinces and states.
4. No legislation on communal affairs if the majority of the two communities are not present and voting in favour.
5. Provinces will be divided into three groups:
A: Hindu majority provinces e.g. UP, CP, Madras, Bombay, Bihar, Orissa.
B: Muslim majority provinces in NW e.g. Punjab, NWFP, Balochistan and Sindh.
C: Bengal and Assam.
6. Each group could decide what to be managed jointly and what should be managed by provinces themselves. They could decide if the group desired to frame constitution.
7. After ten years, a province by a vote of its legislature could ask for review of relationship with the Union. It implied that a group or province could quit the Indian Union.
8. CA to be elected by the elected members of the provincial assemblies. Seats to be divided into three categories: General, Muslim, and Sikh on the basis of population in provinces. Separate Electorate.
9. Interim Government to be set up.
Muslim League Reaction
The Muslim League reiterated its demand for Pakistan. It accepted the plan for two reasons: Basis and foundation of Pakistan was in the compulsory grouping and the right to ask for review.
The Congress was critical of groupings and right to ask for review of constitutional relationship. It agreed to contest elections for the CA but declined to be bound by the proposals of the Cabinet Plan. The nonsensical stand of the Congress was that they were ‘free to make any change in the proposal.’ Definitely the ML was alarmed by the Congress’ intentions.