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Mountbatten Plan of June 1947| Provisions and acceptance of Mountbatten Plan of June 1947

Introduction

The British Government decided to quit India by a fixed date. Mr. Attlee made an announcement in the House of Commons on February 20, 1947, “His Majesty’s Government desires to hand over responsibility to authorities established by a constitution approved by all parties in India. But unfortunately, there was a present no clear prospect that such a constitution and such authorities would emerge. If it should appear that an agreed constitution would not have been worked out by June, 1948, it should transfer the powers of the Central Government, whether as a whole to some form of Central Government for British India, or in some areas to the existing Provincial Governments, or in such other ways as may seem most reasonable and in the best interests of the Indian People. It was also announced that Lord Wavell would be succeeded by Mountbatten as the last incumbent to the Vice regal Office”.

Lord Mountbatten arrived in India on 1947 and started a round of discussions with the Indian leaders. He announced his plan on 3rd June, 1947.

Mountbatten Plan of June 1947

Provisions of Mountbatten Plan of June 1947

• It proposed the division of India into two Dominions and the transference of power to take place on 15th August, 1947, instead of June, 1948, as declared earlier.

• The plan opposite to League’s demand for a Pakistan including the whole of Bengal and Assam in the East and the Punjab in the West, it excluded Assam completely and suggested the partition of Bengal and the Punjab. The Provincial Legislatures of Bengal and Punjab were to meet separately in two parts each one representing the Muslim majority districts and the other Hindu majority districts. The members of the two parts of each Legislature were empowered to vote whether or not the Provinces should be partitioned. The Muslim majority district of Sylhet was to decide by a referendum whether it was to join East Bengal or remain in Assam.

• In the case of North-West Frontier Province., there was to be a referendum to ascertain whether the people wanted to be in Pakistan or India. The need arose because of the fact that North-West Frontier Province had a Congress Ministry.

Acceptance of Mountbatten Plan of June 1947

• The Representatives of the Hindu Majority Districts of the Punjab led by Dr. Gopichand Bhargava and Bengal led by Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee in their respective Assemblies voted in favour of the partition of the provinces. Sylhet mainly chose to merge in East Bengal.

• The followers of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in North-West Frontier Province boycotted referendum while remaining Muslim population opted for Pakistan. Mohammad Ali Jinnah refused to accept divided Pakistan but ultimately had to accept the plan in pressure of Mountbatten and Winston Churchil.

• The Working Committee of the Congress met at Delhi on 14th June, 1947, to discuss the draft plan of the Viceroy in which Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Nationalist Muslims, the Hindu Members representing Pakistan districts and Sri Purushottam Das Tandon opposed the Plan but Govind Ballabh Pant, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel, Acharya Kripalani and Mahatma Gandhi accepted it.

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