The following article covers all the important points regarding Second Round Table Conference.
- Second Round Table Conference was held in London, between September 1931 to December 1931.
- Indian National Congress (INC) agreed to participate in this conference under Gandhi – Irwin Pact. (Note that Congress did not participate in First Round Table Conference.)
- Gandhi was representing Congress, whereas Sarojini Naidu was representing Indian women in this conference.
Not much was expected from Second Round Table Conference, because:
- Right-wing Conservative Party in Britain which was led by Winston Churchill strongly objected the British government (led by the Labour Party) negotiating with Indians on an equal basis. Instead, the Conservative Party demanded strong and strict government in India.
- The British Government stuffed the conference with an overwhelming majority of Loyalists, Communalists and Princes of Indian princely states. British government smartly used these different groups against Congress to show that Congress alone does not represent the whole of the India.
- Indian Princes were not happy with Congress’ demands because of the possibility of formation of Congress government at the centre. Thus, their enthusiasm was in favour of the British government.
The session of the Second Round Table Conference soon got deadlocked on the question of minority.
The Muslims and the Depressed Classes (SC/ST) demanded separate electorates for themselves. All the demand of these groups came together in Minority Pact.
The Second Round Table Conference ended with the following announcement by the Government:
- Two Muslim majority province to be created: Sind and North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
- Setting up of Indian Consultative Committee.
- Prospect of Unilateral British Communal Award if Indians failed to agree.
Results of the Second Round Table Conference:
- The British government did not acknowledge the basic Indian demand of freedom.
- Gandhiji was very disappointed with this conference and returned to India on 28 December 1931.
- On 29 December 1931, Congress Working Committee decided to resume Civil Disobedience Movement.
Second Phase of Civil Disobedience Movement:
With the announcement of Congress to resume the Civil Disobedience Movement, the British government came into action. This time the government was prepared to curb the movement:
- The viceroy gave full power to the authorities to curb civil rights. Now the police can detain people and seize the property.
- Gandhiji was arrested (on 4 January 1932) before he could gain momentum for mass movement again.
- British government used loyalists, communalists and government authorities very well to curb the movement.
- Congress and other political parties were declared illegal. The offices and funds of these parties were seized by the government.
- All the ashrams of Gandhi were seized.
This time, the Civil Disobedience Movement was not successful and was withdrawn in May 1934.