Rajaji Formula

Rajaji Formula

C. Rajagopalachari’s formula or Rajaji formula:

  • Efforts were on to solve the ongoing constitutional crisis, and some individuals also tried to come up with constitutional proposals to solve the political deadlock between the All India Muslim League and Indian National Congress on independence of India from the British.
  • C. Rajagopalachari, the veteran Congress leader, prepared a formula for Congress-League cooperation. It was a tacit acceptance of the League’s demand for Pakistan. Gandhi supported the formula.

The main points in CR Plan:

  • Muslim League to endorse Congress demand for independence.
  • League to cooperate with Congress in forming a provisional government at centre.
  • At the end of the War, a commission would be appointed to demarcate the districts having a Muslim population in absolute majority and in those areas plebiscite to be conducted on all inhabitants (including the non-Muslims) on basis of adult suffrage whether or not to form a separate sovereign state.
  • All parties would be allowed to express their stance on the partition and their views before the plebiscite.
  • In case of acceptance of partition, agreement to be made jointly for safeguarding defence, commerce, communications, etc.
  • The border districts could choose to join either of the two sovereign states;
  • The above terms to be operative only if England transferred full powers to India.

Gandhi-Jinnah talks of 1944:

  • As the Allies by the turn of tides saw more victories the attitude of British administration towards Congress softened.
    • Moreover, America had been pressing on meeting India’s demand for self-governance though being an ally of Britain in the war.
  • Although other Congress leaders were still in prison Gandhi was released on 5 May 1944.
  •  After his release Gandhi proposed talks with Jinnah on his two-nation theory and negotiating on issue of partition.
    • The CR formula acted as the basis for the negotiations.
    • Gandhi and Jinnah met in September 1944 to ease the deadlock.
    • Gandhi placed the CR formula as his proposal to Jinnah.
    • Nevertheless, Gandhi-Jinnah talks failed after two weeks of negotiations.
  • In Gandhi’s view, the talks failed because of fundamental differences in perspectives: while he looked at separation as within the family and therefore preferred to retain some elements of partnership, Jinnah wanted complete dissolution with sovereignty.

Jinnah’s objections:

  • Jinnah wanted the Congress to accept the two-nation theory.
    • He wanted only the Muslims of North-West and North-East to vote in the plebiscite and not the entire population.
    • Jinnah considered that the League represented all Muslims and the adult franchise demanded by the formula was redundant.
  • Jinnah had placed the claim for British Indian Provinces then regarded as Muslim majority regions (in the north-west; Sind, Baluchistan, the North-West Frontier Province and the Punjab, and in the north-east, Assam and Bengal).
    • Thus if a plebiscite was placed, Jinnah ran a risk partitioning Punjab and Bengal.
  • He also opposed the idea of a common centre.

Other’s objections:

  • Although a failure the CR formula was seen as Congress’ betrayal of the Sikhs by Akali Dal leaders like Master Tara Singh.
    • Since the formula meant vivisection of Punjab, if agreed the Sikh community would be divided into two.
    • Since Sikhs did not make a majority in any single district although being a very significant number in Punjab would have to be scattered between Muslim and Hindu nations.
  • The proposal had been detested by other leaders such as V. D. Sarvarkar and Syama Prasad Mookerjee of the Hindu Mahasabha and Srinivas Sastri of National Liberal Federation.
  • However, Wavell the then viceroy of India, who had earlier insisted on the geographic unity of India stated that the talks based on the CR formula failed because Gandhi himself did “not really believe” in the proposal nor Jinnah was ready to “answer awkward questions” which would reveal that he had “not thought out the implications of Pakistan”.

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