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Bengal Legislative Assembly


Bengal Legislative Assembly was the final outcome of the series of constitutional reforms begun from 1861 and ending up in the India Act of 1935 under which all the provinces of British India were provided with constitutional assemblies elected by people voting on the basis of adult franchise. Bengal Legislative Assembly began its journey from the general elections of 1937.

Under the Government of India Act, 1935, the allocation of seats in the Bengal Legislative Assembly was as follows: Total seats: 250 distributed as follows: general seats 78; Muhammedan seats 117 (urban 6 and rural 111); Anglo-Indian seats 3; European seats 11; Indian Christian seats 2; Commerce, Industries and Planting seats 19; Landholders seats 5; Labour representatives 8; University representative 2 (Dacca 1 and Calcutta 1); Women seats 5' (General 2, Muhammedan 2 and Anglo India 1).

Seat-wise position of various parties and interests in the Bengal Legislative Assembly elected in 1937 stood as follows according to voting strength:

Congress 54; Independent Muslim 42; muslim league 40; Independent Hindu 37; krishak praja party (KPP) 35; Others 32; Tripura Krishak Party 5; Nationalist 3; hindu mahashabha 2.

The Congress refused to cooperate with the government by forming government under the British colonial regime. Under the circumstances, the governor of Bengal invited ak fazlul huq, the leader of the krishak praja party, to form a coalition ministry with himself as the premier. He was successful in forging a coalition with the Muslim League and some other minor parliamentary interests. The other ministers were Nalini Ranjan Sarkar, Sir khwaja nazimuddin, Sir Bejoy Prasad Singha Roy, Nawab Khwaja Habibullah Bahadur, Maharaja Sirish Chandra Nandi, huseyn sahhieed suhrawardy, Nawab Musharraf Husssain Khan Bahadur, Syeed Naushwer Ali, Prasanna Deb Raikut and Mukunda Behari Mullick.

Due to the famine of 1943 and subsequent political problems including Hindu-Muslim tensions, the elections of the Bengal Legislative Assembly remained suspended until 1946, when the second general election was held. In the mean time, two other ministries were formed- one headed by ak fazlul huq (1941) and the other by Sir Khwaja Nazimuddin (1943).

The last general elections before partition were held on 19-22 March 1946. The election results stood as follows:

Muslim League- 113; Congress- 86; Independent Hindu- 13, Independent Muslim- 9 and others- 29.

Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, the leader of the Muslim League Parliamentary Party, formed the government. [Sirajul Islam]

See also bengal legislative council; constitutional development.