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Provincial elections of 1937 and the congress ministries:

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Central Provinces and was that largest single party in the NWFP Congress ministries were formed in July 1937 in seven out of eleven provinces.

Later, Congress formed coalition in two others. Only Bengal (a coalition of the Krishak Praja Party) and Punjab (Unionist Party) had non-Congress ministries.

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3. The Muslim League contested the elections to various legislative bodies but achieved moderate success.

Out of the 485 reserved Muslim seats, the League could capture only 110 seats. Even in the Muslim-majority provinces of the Punjab, the North-West Frontier Province, Bengal and Sindh the League was trounced by rival Muslim parties.

4. The Congress ministries tried to improve the condition of the people within the narrow limits of the powers given to them under the Act of 1935.

The Congress ministries set up new standards of honesty, austerity and public service. They drastically reduced their own salaries and mostly travelled second or third class on the railways.

5. They promoted civil liberties, repealed restrictions on the press and radical organization, permitted trade unions and Kisan organizations to function and grow, curbed the power of the police, and released political prisoners including number of revolutionary terrorists.

They passed agrarian legislations dealing with tenancy rights, security of tenure, rent reduction and relief and protection to peasant debtors.

6. The Congress Governments introduced prohibition in selected areas, undertook Harijan upliftment and gave great attention to primary, higher and technical education and public health.

7. Support was given to Khadi another village industries, Modern industries too were encouraged.

8. Other major achievement was the handling of communal riots.

9. The largest gain, however, was psychological as people felt like breathing the air victory and self-government. ‘

When the 2nd World War broke out (Sep. 1939) the Government of India immediately joined the war without consulting the National Congress or the elected members of the Central Legislature.

The Congress was in sympathy with the victim of fascism but they asked how it was possible for an enslaved nation to aid others in their fight for freedom.

They therefore demanded that India must be declared free or at least effective power be transferred to Indians it could actively participate in the war.

This British refused to accept and even tried to put the religious minorities and princes against the Congress. Therefore, the Congress ministries resigned in Oct. 1939.

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