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Simla Conference (1945)

Lord Wavell succeeded Lord Linlithgow as Viceroy of India in 1943. Lard Wavell was a reputed military commander and had commanded the British armies in the Second World War. Before coming to India he was the C-in-C of the British forces which were fighting in North Africa against German forces. Being a military commander Lord Wavell possessed great administrative experience. When he took over as Viceroy, the tide of the Second World War was turning in favour of the allies. Lord Wavell declared that British Government wanted to see India as an independent and prosperous country. When the war ended in August 1945, Viceroy Lord Wavell decided to hold a political conference to which he invited Muslim League and Congress representatives. The conference began in Simla on June 24, 1945 and lasted till July 14, 1945. Muslim League was represented by Quaid-i-Azam, Liaquat Ali Khan, Khwaja Nazim-ud-din, Ghulam Hussain Hidayat Ullah, Sir Muhammad Asad Ullah and Hussain Imam. The Congress was represented by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Khizar Hayat Tiwana, Dr. Khan Sahib and some other leaders.

The Viceroy proposed an Interim Central Government in which all the portfolios except that of war would be given to Indians. There was to be parity of representation between Muslims and caste Hindus. There was a deadlock over the Muslim League’s demand that all five Muslim members of the Executive Council should be the nominees of the Muslim League. The Viceroy was of the opinion that four members should be taken from the Muslim League while the fifth member should be a Punjabi Muslim who did not belong to the Muslim League. The Viceroy’s insistence on having a non-leaguer in the Executive Council was in accordance with the advice given by British and Hindu officials to support Khizar Hayat Tiwana in his stand against Muslim League. Khizar Hayat Tiwana, Chief Minister of Punjab, had demanded that one seat of the Executive Council, out of Muslim quota, should be given to his Unionist Party which was happily accepted by the Viceroy. The Congress also supported Khizar Hayat in his stand against Muslim League. The Congress denied Muslim League’s claim of being the sole representative of the Indian Muslims. Quaid-i-Azam took a strong stand on these two issues and the conference failed to achieve anything and finally ended on 14th July, 1945.

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