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Resolution of the Working Committee of the Indian National Congress
29 July to 1 August, 1935

Legal Document No 59

Although the policy of the Congress regarding the State in India has been defined in its resolutions, a persistent effort is being made by or on behalf of the people of the States to get a fuller declaration of the Congress policy. The Working Committee therefore issues the following statement concerning the policy of the Congress with regard to the Princes and the people of the State:

The Indian National Congress recognises that the people in the Indian States have an inherent right to Swaraj no less than the people of British India. It has accordingly declared itself in favour of establishment of representative responsible government in the States and has in that behalf not only appealed to the Princes to establish such responsible government in their States and to guarantee fundamental rights of citizenship, like freedom of person, speech, association, of the press, to their people but has also pledged to the States people its sympathy and support in their legitimate and peaceful struggle for the attainment of full responsible government. By that declaration and by that pledge the Congress stands. The Congress feels that even in their own interests the Princes will be well advised to establish at the earliest possible moment full responsible government with their States carrying a guarantee of full rights of citizenship to their people.

It should be understood, however, that the responsibility and the burden of carrying on the struggle within the States must necessarily fall on the States people themselves. The Congress can exercise moral and friendly influence upon the States and this it is bound to do wherever possible. The Congress has no other power under existing circumstances although the people of India whether under the British, the Princes or any other power are geographically and historically one and indivisible. in the heat of controversy the limitation of the Congress is often forgotten. Indeed any other policy will defeat the common purpose.

With regard to the impending constitutional changes it has been suggested that the Congress should insist upon certain amendments of that portion of the Government of India Bill which deals with the relation of the Indian States to the Indian Federation. The Congress has more than once categorically rejected the entire scheme of constitutional reforms on the broad ground of its not being an expression of the will of the people of India and has insisted on a Constitution to be framed by a Constituent Assembly. It may not now ask for an amendment of the scheme in any particular part. To do so would amount to a reversal of the Congress policy.

At the same time it is hardly necessary to assure the people of the State that the Congress will never be guilty of sacrificing their interests in order to buy the support the Princes. From its inception the Congress has stood unequivocally for the rights of the masses of India as against any vested rights in conflict with their true interests.

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