British government called for the First round table conference in the year 1930 to discuss the constitutional advancement of India.
On May 1930, Simon Commission published its report. Britain government wanted to discuss the recommendation of this report in detail. So that, decision can be made on the future constitutional advancement of India.
Muhammed Ali Jinnah met Viceroy Lord Irwin to suggest that in these discussions, Indian representatives should also be invited. British government accepted his request.
So, for these discussions, British government held 3 round table conferences at London during 1930 – 1932.
First Round table conference was officially inaugurated by British King George V and the chairman of conference was British Prime Minister Ramsay McDonald.
1st Round Table conference Duration - Nov 1930 to Jan 1931
Participants of First Round table Conference
In this conference, along with British politicians, representatives from Indian princely states and political parties were also invited.
16 Delegates from different political parties of Britain
16 Delegates from different Indian princely states
58 Delegates from different Indian political parties
Some of the Indian political parties which represented in the first round table conference were Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha, Indian Liberal Party etc.
From Muslim League – MA Jinnah, Aga Khan and Muhammed Ali participated. Tez Bahadur Sapru from Indian Liberal Party also participated in this conference.
BR Ambedkar represented untouchables & Sardar Ujjal Singh represented Sikh community.
Congress did not attend the 1st round table conference.
Why Congress did not attend First Round table Conference
Congress’s demand of implementing Nehru Report was not entertained by British Government. In its response, Congress had launched civil disobedience movement.
During Civil Disobedience Movement, Congress was boycotting every British laws and institutions. So, it was not possible for congress leaders to attend the first round table and have any kind of discussion.
Key highlights of First Round table Conference
- All political parties agreed that the ultimate goal of constitutional development is Dominion Status.
Also, it was discussed that Finance and Defence department of the dominion will still be under British control.
- Tez Bahadur Sapru of Indian Liberal Party gave an idea of All India Federation. This was also accepted by all.
Idea of all India Federation was that all princely states and provinces within the Indian Union will act as a self-governing body by themselves. And, all these self governing bodies will form a Union called All India Federation. There shall be a central government at this level.
- Dr. BR Ambedkar demanded separate electorate for the depressed class. However, Decision could not be made on this topic.
Did First Round table Conference Succeed in its Objectives
Even though the conference was going smooth, a lot of decisions were made. But, the main concern of British Government was that Congress did not joined it. And, by looking at the success of civil disobedience movement it was clear that Congress was leading the majority of Indian population.
So, any decision made in the first round table could not be considered final until Congress accepts them. So, anything and everything discussed was not of much use.
So, First Round Table was considered as a Failure.