Recollections and reflections

Reminiscences, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

I first came in contact with Subhas Bose in 1923 at Delhi when the Congress was divided into two groups over the question of what was known as 'Council Entry.'...Subhas Babu, as the favourite lieutenant of Deshabandhu, was playing a prominent part in the controversy. more>>

Statement on Crisis in Central Province Ministry

1. I issued two statements on the ministerial crisis in CP after the last meeting of the Working Committee held on 23rd July and I intended to observe silence thereafter, but the persistent propaganda that has been carried on against Mahatma Gandhi and the members of the Working Committee and the recent utterances and publication of Dr Khare, made it imperative on my part to make a further statement. I am sorry that in doing so I shall have to refer to many unpleasant facts which will not rebound to Dr Khare's credit, but the responsibility for that will rest entirely with him.

2. It pains me to have to remark that at least a part of the propaganda that has been going on is of an objectionable and even filthy character. Whatever our differences may be, if a controversy has to be carried on publicly, we should not give a go-bye to canons of decorumand decency. What is most regrettable is that vituperation and abuse have been hurled at no less a person than Mahatma Gandhi himself and if a collection ismade of the adjectives so far used, it will make the soul of every Indian revolt in utter disgust.

3. One cannot fail to notice that in the pro-Khare propaganda, which has agitated certain parts of our country, a number of individuals and agencies have joined, who have long been known for their antipathy towards the Congress. The present incident has served as a convenient stick to beat the Congress with and I am surprised that Congressmen who have joined hands with them do not realise that they are injuring their own institution by their action.

4. I should say at the outset that the Working Committee is a body which is entirely free from provincial and communal bias and that its decision regarding Dr Khare was unanimous. The Committee consisted among others, of a Maharashtrian gentleman, Shri Shankar Rao Deo, and some members who have been personal friends of Dr Khare who enjoyed their confidence. Even Dr Khare will admit that they used to support him whenever any issue arose in which he was involved. Why did these friends turn against him? The answer is simple. Dr Khare created such a situation that it was no longer possible for even a close friend to defend his behaviour and conduct and by his actions he proved himself unfit to continue as the Premier of a Province.

5. The administrative unit of CP and Berar is linguistically a composite area-part of it being Marathi-speaking and the remainder Hindustani-speaking. Three of the Ministers (Shriyuts Khare, Gole and Deshmukh) were drawn from the Marathi-speaking Congress Provinces of Nagpur and Vidarbha (Berar) while the other (Shriyuts Sukla, Mishra and Mehta were drawn from the Hindustani-speaking Congress Provinces of Mahakoshal. I believe that the agitation among Maharashtrians has been considerably accentuated because they see that a Maharashtrian Premier has been deposed and his Maharashtrian colleagues turned out of office, while the remaining three Mahakoshal ministers have found seats in the new cabinet and one of them has become the Premier. But if we are to judge the whole affair dispassionately, we must separate the issue of Dr Khare and the treatment meted out to him from the other issue of the composition of the new cabinet. For the treatment meted out to Dr Khare, the Working Committee accepts the fullest responsibility.

Regarding the composition of the new cabinet, the responsibility rests solely with the Congress Assembly Party of CP and Berar for the election of the leader and then largely with the leader for the selection of his cabinet. When the Congress Assembly Party met on the 27th July at Wardha, it had an unfettered choice in the matter of its leader. If the Mahakoshal group managed to get one of their number elected as leader, it was because of the very principle of democracy to which the protagonists of Dr Khare now swear allegiance. When Dr Khare's name was proposed, his supporters thought that I would rule it out of order and they would be able to nurse a grievance. But when I did not do so, his name was promptly withdrawn.

Who is to be blamed if the majority of the members of the Congress Assembly Party elected Pandit Ravi Shanker Sukla as Leader? Dr Khare has to thank himself for losing the support of the Mahakoshal MLAs who had voted for him in March 1937.

6. If one considers the whole matter dispassionately, he will be forced to the conclusion that no injustice has been done to Dr Khare, nor has he been dealt with too harshly. Nevertheless, if one argues that he had been punished too severely, I may point out that a leader has to pay the price of leadership. In the event of success, he often gets more praise and credit than he probably deserves and in event of failure he frequently gets all the blame or at least much of it. No leadershould, therefore, grudge if on occasions he seems to be judged harshly by his followers or by his countrymen. If a battle is won, the General becomes the hero-if things go wrong, he is punished severely. But no General or Minister, true to his salt, goes about the country declaiming against his Government or his party, if he considers himself wronged or unfairly dealt with. In no country in the world would a deposed Premier have behaved with such supreme lack of dignity and responsibility as the Ex-premier of CP.

7. The composition of the CP and Berar Congress Assembly Party is such that the Mahakoshal members outnumber the rest. When the party first elected its leader in March 1937, Dr Khare was elected leader unanimously. The Doctor's personal following in the party was too small to give him a majority without the Mahakoshal votes. It must, therefore, be said to the credit of the Mahakoshal members that they did not think along provincial or regional lines. So Dr Khare started his career as leader under favourable auspices. He took office for 12 months. Why did he lose the hold over the party which he had in March 1937? Why did he antagonize the Mahakoshal members whose support had accounted for his unanimous election as leader last year ?

8. After the Haripura Congress in February, 1938, discontent against the Premier manifested itself within the party in connection with the Shareef affairs, Umri murder case, Jubbulpore riots and other matters. Discontent began to grow steadily till it culminated in a crisis early in May. On the 7th May, Shriyut  Mishrawrote to Dr Khare expressing his deep dissatisfaction at the manner in which the latter handled the communal situation in Jubbulpore.

9. On the morning of the 8th May, consultations took place between the ministers, in the course of which the Premier's administration of his own department came in for a good deal of criticism. The same day ministers Gole, Shukla, Mishra and Mehtaaddressed a long letter to Dr Khare resigning from the cabinet and giving their reasons for doing so. Those reasons were briefly as follows:-(a) His handling of the Home Department was characterised by weakness, (b) In the matter of economy and other questions he gave in to the department against the advice of his colleagues, (c) In the matter of the two Jubbulpore riots he did not handle the police department firmly in spite of the insistence of his colleagues (d) In several other cases mentioned in the letter he was subservient to the Secretariat, (e) On the basis of a rumour against Minister Gole in the matter of the sale of Manganese, he ordered the District Magistrate of Nagpur to enquire into the allegations against him. (f) He made enquiries of the Deputy Commissioner of Wardha against Minister Shareef and made a report to Sardar Patel about the latter which was subsequently denied by the Deputy Commissioner.

10. A report of the discussion of the 8th morning was drawn up by Shriyut Deshmukh and communicated to Dr Khare the next day in the form of a letter.

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In this letter, Shriyut Deshmukh wrote:

"The discussion was to find out ways and means if it was still possible to avert what might develop into a serious crisis which everybody agreed was not in the best interests of Congress and which did no credit to us. The discussion was quite frank, open and without prejudice or underhand, but brought forth radical differences which disclosed that much hope of a working compromise did not exist."

Mr Mishra's view was that Dr Khare as a Premier was very weak, and would not give usthe lead required; not only that but that Dr Khare was liable to play into the hands of the bureaucracy.

He mentioned that owing to this defect, his own position in Jubbulpore had completely been undermined; and the prestige of the Congress gone. His view further was that Dr Khare took a departmental view of things and did not consult his colleagues enough and did not place confidence in them but relied on his Chief Secretary and the Head of the Department. In this lattercharge, Mr Mehta also agreed; and to illustrate this he mentioned the attitude taken in the matter of the transfer of Mr Niaz Ahmad Khan from Jubbulpore and Economy Committee's recommendations regarding the dear district allowances of the Police as the instances of strong departmentalism. Cases about withdrawal of prosecution regarding Sheori Narayan, breach of order under Section 114, CrPC, and giving a counsel for defence of servants in the Bilaspur enquiries were also mentioned as signs of weakness.

11. From the above, as also from the joint statement issued by the ministers (including the Premier) after the Pachmarhi compromise, to which I shall refer subsequently, it should beclear that the conflict between the Premier and the majority of his colleagues was neither personal nor provincial (or regional) in character. The conflict centred round issues which were primarily politicaland administrative. Dr Khare has, no doubt tried to explain the conflict as a clash of personalities and of provincial (or regional) feeling, but his explanation is disproved by actual facts.

12. As soon as the letter of resignation was received by Dr Khare, he realised that his position as Premier had become untenable. Perhaps, because of this he neither submitted before the Governor nor called a meeting of the party to consider it. Instead, he took two significant moves. He sent for Mr Gole and tried to convince him that there was a conspiracy against himself on provincial (or regional) grounds. Thereupon, Mr Gole withdrew his resignation and wrote as follows to Messrs. Shukla, Mishra and Mehta on the fifth May, explaining his withdrawal:

"This evening after I submitted my resignation along with you, I went to see Dr Khare on his invitation. I was told by Dr Khare that he was going to be turned out on parochial grounds. I understood him to mean that it was a question between Hindusthanis and Maharashtrians. It was also represented that it would be possible for me to justify my position in Nagpur and Berar. I said that such a question should not now be raised and if the resignation is going to have that interpretation, I should like to withdraw it, pending the decision of the Working Committee. On my mentioning that Mr Mishra supported him last year, he said that he had not been able to find out why Mr Mishra was opposed to him now. Only parochial considerations have made me withdraw my resignation for the time being. Kindly excuse."

13. In view of this evidence can it be urged that there was a conspiracy on the part of the Mahakoshalites to turn out a Maharashtrian Premier? Can it not be urged on the contrary that it was the Maharashtrian Premier who first raised the provincial (or regional) issue?

14. The second move which Dr Khare took was to write to two of the ministers preferring certain charges against them. When they refused to be bullied and preferred counter-charges, the Doctor changed his tactics. Then there followed a Peace Conference and the Premier offered to agree to any compromise, "short of signing his death-warrant." An understanding was arrived at on the 9th May that Dr Khare would continue as Premier but he would give up his portfolios and continue himself to coordinating the work of the ministers. It was further agreed that this compromise would be placed before the Working Committee.

15. With this understanding in their pockets, the Ministers came to Bombay on the occasion of the Working Committee meeting on May 15. In Bombay, Dr Khare tried to back out of this understanding and he sought the help of Sardar Patel for correcting his Mahakoshal colleagues to agree to his retaining his cabinet, but the Sardar expressed his inability to help him, as on his own admission, he did not command majority in the party. It was in Bombay that Dr Khare informed some members of the Working Committee that he had ordered confidential enquiries into the doings of the ministers.

16. The working Committee met at Bombay on the 15th and after careful considerations, the Committee advised the Premier to call a meeting of the CP Parliamentary Party and ask them to consider the situation that has arisen in regard to the Ministry ; and also decide the steps to be taken to meet the situation. The Committee also advised that the meeting of the Parliamentary Party to consider this question should be held under the Presidentship of Shri Vallabhbhai Patel, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Sub-committee.

17. Dr Khare and his colleagues, Shrijuts Gole and Deshmukh, did not feel happy over this decision. As early as the 9th May Mr Deshmukh had written to the Premier as follows:

"My definite conclusion is that no local solution of the problem is possible. If there is a solution, it must come from outside."

As to Dr Khare, he knew that in the event of a straight vote in the Party meeting, his position was precarious since he had lost the support of his Mahakoshal colleagues and he told as such to the members of the Parliamentary Sub-Committee at Bombay. And Shrijut Gole's feelings after the Bombay meeting of the Working Committee are clearly reflected in the letter he addresed to Sardar Patel from Pachmarhi on the 17th May, quoted hereafter.

18. Pachmarhi had the promise of a battle royal, but that was not fulfilled. A compromise was arrived at between the Ministers themselves.

The members of the Parliamentary Sub-Committee who werepresent at Pachmarhi had no occasion to intervene in the negotiations. Dr Khare has stated in "My Defence" that 44 out of the 68 members present (out of total strength of 79) decided that if there was no compromise, all the six including Dr Khare must go. Assuming that this statement is correct, it only shows that majority of the members of the party were not prepared to support him, if he decided to do away with his Mahakoshal colleagues.

The atmosphere at Pachmarhi was conducive to a settlement and the following agreement was concluded:

(1)    That Dr Khare would give up all his portfolios and a reshuffling of portfolios would take place.
(2)    That Dr Khare would confine himself to coordinating the work of the Ministers.
(3)    That reshuffling would take place earliest before the ministers left Pachmarhi and latest by the 1st July.
(4)    That neither group would put forward anything published in the press as an excuse for backing out of the compromise.
(5)    That in the event of disagreement over the reshuffling of portfolios, the matter would be referred to the Presidents of Mahakoshal, Nagpur and Vidharbha Provinces and their decision would be final; and
(6)    That no enquiries by the police into the conduct of a colleague would be made by the Prime Minister and that if there was any allegation against a minister it would be placed before him and his colleagues and an explanation asked for.

19. At this late hour it is futile for Dr Khare to say, as he has done in "My Defence" that he was coerced into this compromise. The situation at Pachmarhi, as described by the Doctor himself, was such that he had to choose between two evils, viz., to give up his Premiership or retain it at the sacrifice of his portfolios. He chose the latter course as the lesser evil and the above compromise was the result. This compromise was easily effected because his colleagues did not desire to get rid of him as Premier, but only to prevent the mishandling of the departments in his charge. The principal term of the agreement, viz., that he should give up his portfolios and be the coordinating Prime Minister, had as a matter of fact been first mooted by him at Pachmarhi on the 9th May before he proceeded to Bombay. After the compromise, on the 25th May at Pachmarhi, the following joint statement was handed over by the Ministers to Sardar Patel:

"In response to the wishes of the party, as expressed at its meeting on May 24, we met together and discussed all the questions of differences amongst ourselves, some of them being temperamental, some due to differences of outlook and others involving questions of procedure regarding the internal working of the Ministry. We are happy to report that we have been able to amicably settle all our differences and have agreed to work in a spirit of comradeship and we feel confident that we shall have your full cooperation and support."

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20. It was at Dr Khare's request that the terms of the compromise were not published and their execution was delayed in order to avoid any appearance of his being humiliated. There is reference to the compromise in the letter written by Syt. Deshmukh to SardarPatel, dated Pachmarhi the 26th June and that written by Mr MS Aney to the latter, dated Yeotmal, the 8th June. In fact, Dr Khare under pressure from the Congress authority, did take some steps at first to implement the agreement, but subsequently he resiled from that position. It seems to have entered into his head that instead of giving up his portfolios he should try to reshuffle his cabinet and get rid of his Mahakoshal colleagues. To this end, he had tried to influence Sardar Patel in Bombay in May, but had failed. Nevertheless, his efforts continued. With a view to securing proofs of corruption against some of his colleagues, he had already initiated confidential police enquiries against them. Those members of the Working Committee who came to know of this, strongly disapproved of his conduct. But this disapproval had apparently no effect on him. It may be added here that the allegations of corruption were subsequently proved to be wholly unfounded.

21. After the Pachmarhi compromise things improved outwardly for a while, but the trouble continued. On the one hand, the terms of the agreement were not fulfilled by the Doctor. On the other, the CID investigation, referred to above, continued.

Besides the police, the Premier also employed non-official agencies to carry on the investigation, as he himself told Maulana Azad and myself. The effect on the Secretariat, on the services and ultimately on the public of such unheard-of conduct on the part of a Premier can be more easily imaginedthan described- As a matter of fact, a high official took strong exception to such an enquiry against a serving minister and when the Premier ordered a similar enquiry against another minister, the authority concerned refused to issue orders himself.

22. If one carefully analyses the developments after Pachmarhi, one is led to the conclusion that it was Dr Khare who tried to evade the fulfilment of the terms of the compromise. During the last week of June, when Maulana Azad and I were returning to Calcutta, we had a long talk with the Doctor in the train and tried to convince him that he should implement the compromise and drop all underhand activity against the colleagues. We asked him point blank as to why he did not inform his colleagues if he heard anything against them. He replied that in that case they would be forewarned and he would not be able to catch them. The talk which Maulana Azad and I had with him in the train had no visible effect on him and we proceeded to Calcutta with dark forebodings in our mind about the future of the Ministry. On the 8th July, Dr Khare addressed a letter to several members of the Working Committee containing some allegations against one of the ministers. It appeared as if the Doctor was trying to make out a case for getting rid of some of his colleagues and reshuffling the cabinet in his own way.

23. Meetings of Ministers were held for implementing the Pachmarhi compromise, the last being on the 15th July at Nagpur, but they proved abortive. In violation of the terms of the compromise, Shriyuts Khare, Gole and Deshmukh maintained till the last that the Premier should retain the police portfolio. At these meetings, Dr Khare, announced that he would resign and would call upon the other ministers to do so. The Doctor wrote two letters to Sardar Patel on the 15th July but there is no mention in either letter of his intention to resign and ask the other ministers to do so though in one of them he wrote, "I shall keep you informed from time to time about the events as they occur."

24. Messrs. Gole and Deshmukh handed in their resignation to Dr Khare on the 12th July. The same day the Doctor got into telephonic communication with Thakur Piarelal Singh of Raipur. His representative went down to Raipur on the 17th July, and met the Thakur Sahib. On the 19th July the latter wrote to Dr Khare saying that he was willing to join his new Cabinet. Meanwhile in Nagpur, the Doctor wrote to Messrs. Shukla, Mishra and Mehta, asking them if they would follow the convention of resigning with Premier in the event of his doing so. The letter was dated the 18th July, but actually reached them on the 19th afternoon. I am quoting an extract from Mehta's reply whichhe handed over personally to Dr Khare on the 20th July at 11 am before the latter tendered his resignation to the Governor:

"I was surprised at receiving your confidential letter dated July 18, 1938, which was delivered to me after 12 o'clock to-day. You will remember that at my instance Mr Gole delivered to you on Friday last (15th July) a message from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel requesting you not to take any hasty decision or step before you met him when he came to this province. After this, I met you at your house on the morning of the 17th when after discussion for over an hour, you said that you felt that you had done your colleague, Mr Mishra, a grievous personal wrong by reporting without any enquiry as to their truth, charges of a grave nature against him to Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Sahib without in the first instance informing him of them. You also told me that since then you have asked Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel that you wanted the matter to be treated as dropped. Of course, you denied the truth of my information that you had asked for his expulsion from the cabinet and also that you had employed the police machinery in investigating these charges. You agreed that the gentleman in you demanded that you should apologise to Mr Mishra for this conduct of yours. To this end you asked me to bring about a meeting which I promised to do so as soon as convenient. I also told you that if the Prime Minister was prepared to make amends in this manner and bring about peace, every colleague including myself was bound to give his loyal support to his Chief. In such an atmosphere of perfect understanding and cordiality, I promised you my personal cooperation and said that after harmony was restored in the above manner, a helpful atmosphere might create itself in which it would become easier to discuss the question of your being allowed to hold the police portfolio as wanted by you. I had then told that as two ministers, viz., Shrijuts Shukla and Gole, would not be in the station until the 19th, things could not take a final shape till after they came in.

"Firstly, I should feel obliged if you could let me know the reason which has letyou go back on our talk on Sunday morning 17th July, and to take a decision which is in direct contravention of Sardar Vallabhbhai's request which was communicated to you on Friday. Secondly, I do not understand how I can hold myself bound by your personal opinions, which I do not in the least share with you, that there is no possible solution of your difficulties except the resignation of our Ministry. Apart from your personal likes and dislikes which are your own concern, I do not see why you should be in a hurry to resign before the Working Committee, which is meeting at no distant date, to hear our grievances. One of the terms of the compromise was that you would not hold the police portfolio and nowyou insist in holding it. You and I had agreed upon a plan on Sunday, which you, for reason not known to me, have now decided to discard. The other course open to all of us is that we should place the difficulty of either side before the Working Committee and take their advice. I am definitely against precipitating a crisis and re-enacting the drama of Pachmarhi. What will the world say, if one of us (and that too our leader) refused to honour an agreement arrived at after all the travail which Pachmarhi witnessed.

"Coming to the last portion of your letter I wish to say that the Constitutional position as put by you is not an axiomatic proposition which could be applied to the circumstances of your case. Here, putting it bluntly the remissness is not that of your colleagues but your own. It is you who find it convenient not to fulfil an understanding which you gave to your colleagues. What excuse have you to break up a Ministry whose members requested you only to honour your own words ? If you choose not to act up to your promise, it is for your aggrieved colleagues to make it a grievance and resign If they wish to and not for you to force them to resign for their having asked you to behave the gentleman.

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"So far I have dealt with the matter independently of the great organisation under whose aegis we have chosen to accept office. Coming to our position as ministers working under the vigilance and guidance of that organisation, we cannot without exposing ourselves to the charge of indiscipline do anything which will prove irrevocable. The Working Committee of the Congress is meeting on the 23rd and I would once more request you to think over the matter coolly and without passion before taking any steps. If you still persist and place your resignation in the hands of His Excellency the Governor and call upon me to do the same, I shall be painfully compelled to resist your demand."

25. Sjts. Shuklaand Mishra wrote to the Doctor in the same strain. Sjt. Mishra's letter was a long one in which he also said:

"Whatever may be your motives let me assure you that your universally recognised convention does not frighten me, nor does any provision in your Government of India Act inspire me with hope. It is odd that only in the course of a year you have managed to forget a greater convention, the All-India Congress Convention held at Delhi at which Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru administered you and me and others an oath of allegiance to the great Congress organisation. The brief time of a year should not be enough to obliterate from your memory the Congress Constitution which vests the Congress Working Committee with the highest authority over Congressmen.

"However, I can grant you the right to do whatever you like with yourself but you cannot call upon your colleagues to give an assurance that if you defy the Congress authority, theirdefiance would automatically follow, a General can make us behave like automatons in the name of discipline but a rebel should not have the audacity of expecting such a behaviour from us. Hence my refusal to resign before the matter in dispute has been decided finally by the All-India Congress Parliamentary Sub-Committee and the Working Committee."

26. Sjt. Shukla's and Sjt. Mehta's letters reached Dr Khare before he handed over his resignation to the Governor on the 20th July and that of Sjt. Mishra reached him somewhat later the same day. At about noon Dr Khare sent his resignation along with that of Sjts. Deshmukh and Gole. What followed can best be understood from the joint statement of Messrs. Shukla, Mishra and Mehta issued on the 21st July which said:

"At 12-30 on the 20th we were informed that the Prime Minister had resigned and the Governor wanted us to meet him. At 2-0 pm we met His Excellency and told him that we could not resign until we heard from the High Command. At 10-15 pm one of us,Mr Mehta, informed Mr Khare that Babu Rajendra Prasad was despatching a letter for him which would arrive at midnight. Sjt. Mehta again requested him to await the letter. Thakur Chedilal brought letters of Sjt. Rajendra Prasad to each of the ministers and Dr Khare at about 11-45 pm. He immediately left for Dr Khare's place where letters of Messrs Gole and Deshmukh were delivered to them but everybody there refused to take Dr Khare's letter which in spite of all efforts, nobody at his place received during the whole night and had ultimately to be posted today, though a communication from the Government House was taken in. Thakur Chedilal's personal and insistent request to take his letter also along with it was rejected by Dr Khare's son. Babu Rajendra Prasad had asked Dr Khare and Messrs. Gole and Deshmukh not to press their resignation and deter all further action. He had also asked us not to submit our resignations as we were bound by discipline to take the permission of the Working Committee before taking any such step at this juncture. We accordingly informed His Excellency at 1-50 am and explained our position both verbally and in writing.

"As stated above we received our orders of dismissal this morning. We believe we have throughout acted in the best interests of the Province and can face the Working Committee when it meets at Wardha on the 23rd with clear conscience and clear hands."

27. The letter which Sjt. Rajendra Prasad addressed separately to the Ministers on the 20th July on hearing Dr Khare's resignation was in substance the same. To Dr Khare he wrote as follows:

"Congressmen have accepted office under instructions from the Congress authority, and it is obvious that such a serious step as the resignation of the Prime-Ministership should not be taken without reference to that body. I would, therefore, advise you to await the arrival of the members of the Parliamentary Sub-Committee and the meeting of the Working Committee on the 23rd July and to withdraw your resignation. In any case you can avoid a crisis by asking the Governor to stay action on it till the 23rd, if you do not feel like withdrawing it, which in my opinion would be the better course. You can realise the implications of your action and the complications it is bound to create if you do not accede to my request and insist on creating a crisis immediately without waiting for forty-eight hours. I hope you will not misunderstand me and take it in the friendly spirit in which it is written."

28. On the 20th July Sjts. Shukla, Mishra and Mehta addressed the following letter to His Excellency the Governor:

"Two of us, Messrs. Shukla and Mishra, have just returned from Wardha after meeting Babu Rajendra Prasad, a member of the All-India Parliamentary Sub-Committee and also of the All India Congress Working Committee. As a result of consultation with him, he has addressed a letter to Dr Khare, and Messrs. Gole and Deshmukh requesting them to take back their resignations or at least deter pressing them till the Working Committee and the AICC Parliamentary Sub-Committee meet on the 23rd at Wardha. Two of the members of the latter Committee are now on their way to Wardha and it is now possible to consult them.

As we told you this afternoon our first duty is to the Congress and its orgainsation set up to guide the Parliamentary activities of the Ministers in the different provinces where Congress ministers are holding office. We took office at the instance of the Congress and hold it under its direction.

Though we value the convention that the colleagues of the Prime Minister must resign when called upon by him to do so, we have to urge that we are not free to lay aside the responsibility which we undertook expressly under the orders of the Congress. We, therefore, request you to deter action on the resignations in your hands.

"We need not say that there have been precedents in the Congress provinces of UP and Bihar when ministerial resignations were not given effect to in order to avert grave issues. In view of what we have said above we are unable to tender our resignation."

29. Despite this letter the three Mahakoshal Ministers were dismissed at about 5 am on the 21st July. The same day some of the members of the new Cabinet were sworn in. On the 22nd July, the members of the new cabinet met the members of the Parliamentary Sub-Committee and myself. After some discussion.Dr Khare and his colleagues retired to a separate room for consultation among themselves.