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Read all about Desai-Liaquat Pact in this article. M.K. Gandhi was convinced that the British monarchs would not award India its independence until the Congress and Muslim League reached an agreement regarding the nation’s future or the prompt installation of an interim national government. Gandhi, therefore, gave Bhulabhai Jivanji Desai instructions to try once more to win over the league leaders and find a way out of the political impasses between 1942 and 1945.
Being Liaquat Ali’s friend and the leader of the Congress in the Central Assembly, Desai visited him in January 1945 and presented him with ideas for the creation of an interim government at the centre. Desai made a statement, and Liaquat Ali published it.
Desai-Liaquat Pact History
Desai was one of the few Congressmen in freedom during the Quit India campaign, which lasted from 1942 to 1945 and saw the arrest of Mohandas Gandhi and the entire Congress Working Committee. Desai started secret negotiations with Liaquat Ali Khan, the Muslim League’s second-in-command while putting pressure on for the immediate release of political prisoners.
They intended to make a deal for a future coalition government that would allow Hindus and Muslims to choose a single candidate for the independent Government of India, ultimately moving in the direction of breaking the impasse between the two entities.
After several conversations, Desai and Khan developed a draught plan for the establishment of an interim government at the centre. It consists following:
- 20% of the seats in the central legislature will be designated for minorities, and the League and Congress will each propose an equal number of candidates.
- The current Government of India Act, 1935, would serve as the framework for how the government operates.
For the implementation of these suggestions, some steps were also recommended. First, the Viceroy might call Jinnah and Desai jointly or separately if the plans for an interim government in the Center are approved in accordance with the agreement between the Congress and the Muslim League.
They would proclaim that they were willing to join the government once they reached an understanding. The next move would be to repeal Section 93 in the provinces and establish coalition-style interim governments.
Desai-Liaquat Pact and Questions Raised by British Government
On January 13, Desai met Sir Evan Jenkins, the Viceroy’s personal secretary, and on January 20, he conferred with the Viceroy. In this meeting, the Viceroy was informed of the details of what would eventually be known as the Desai-Liaquat Pact.
With the hope that they would now be able to advance in the political and constitutional spheres, the Viceroy sent these recommendations to the Secretary of State for India. The British government highlighted some crucial issues:
- What was the assurance that the conflict would be supported by the interim administration?
- Would Desai have the backing of the Congress?
- What about the non-Muslim League members, non-Congress Hindus, and minorities?
The agreement was not intended to strip the Governor-General of his authority to choose the Council members.
Desai-Liaquat Pact End Result
This pact collapsed because it was unable to be accepted by Congress and the Muslim League. It had a significant effect on Desai’s political career as well. It was carried out covertly. While Liaquat kept it a secret from Muslim League, Desai kept it a secret from Gandhiji and other Congress officials. The press broke this information. When the party learned about it, there was a significant disagreement among the officials.
Liaquat Ali scorned the entire agreement and dismissed it as a hoax. It had a profound effect on Desai’s political trajectory. Desai was denounced by all notable figures, and on the basis of his health, he was denied voting permits for the Constitutional Assembly elections. As a result of the Desai-Liaquat Pact, Bhulabhai Desai was also blamed for blowing the war budget and was also refused any party support, which destroyed his political career.
Desai-Liaquat Pact UPSC
The Simla Conference was made possible by the Desai-Liaquat Pact, so it wasn’t a complete disaster. Additionally, it was made abundantly obvious to Congress that the Muslim League was the only group capable of speaking for Muslims in India. For UPSC Exam preparation, read this article for the full information on the Desai-Liaquat Pact.