Bengal Pact

Print edition : May 02, 2014

H.S. Suhrawardy. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

THE Suhrawardy-Sarat Bose agreement read thus:

1. Bengal will be a Free State. The Free State of Bengal will decide its relations with the rest of India.

2. The Constitution of the free State of Bengal will provide for election to the Bengal Legislature on the basis of joint electorate and adult franchise, with reservation of seats proportionate to the population amongst Hindus and Muslims. The seats as between Hindus and Scheduled Caste Hindus will be distributed amongst them in proportion to their respective population or in such manner as may be agreed among them. The constituencies will be multiple constituencies and the votes will be distributive and not cumulative. A candidate who gets the majority of the votes of his own community cast during the elections and 25 per cent of the votes of the other communities so cast will be declared elected. If no candidate satisfies these conditions, that candidate who gets the largest number of votes of his own community will be elected.

3. On the announcement by His Majesty’s Government that the proposal of the Free State of Bengal has been accepted and that Bengal will not be partitioned, the present Bengal Ministry will be dissolved and a new Interim Ministry brought into being consisting of an equal number of Muslims and Hindus (including Scheduled Caste Hindus) but excluding the Chief Minister. In this Ministry the Chief Minister will be a Muslim and the Home Minister a Hindu.

4. Pending the final emergence of a Legislature and Ministry under the new Constitution, the Hindus (including Scheduled Caste Hindus) and the Muslims will have an equal share in the services including Military and Police. The services will be manned by Bengalees.

5. A Constituent Assembly composed of 30 persons, 16 Muslims and 14 Hindus will be elected by the Muslim and non-Muslim members of the Legislature respectively, excluding the Europeans.

20th May, 1947.

Sd/- Sarat Chandra Bose

Sd/- Abdul Hashim.