dmpq-Explain why congress leaders resigned from their respective ministries in 1939.

Congress won the elections to the provincial assemblies held in February 1937. Its election manifesto reaffirmed its total rejection of the 1935 Act.  One of the first acts of the Congress Government was to release thousands of political prisoners and to cancel deportation orders on political workers.

The difference between the Congress provinces and the non-Congress provinces of Bengal and Punjab was most apparent in this realm. In the latter, especially in Bengal, civil liberties continued to be curbed and they never released prisoners.  However, Congress could not attempt a complete overhaul of the agrarian structure by completely eliminating the Zamindari system.  Later the Second World War broke out. Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru promised Congress support to the war effort if the British, in return, promised to grant India independence once hostilities ended. The offer was refused. Gandhi withdrew support to the British in War.

The Congress ministries resigned in October and November 1939, in protest against Viceroy Lord Linlithgow’s action of declaring India to be belligerent in the Second World War without consulting the Indian people.  The resignations brought the Left and the Right in Congress closer because of a common policy on the question of participation in the war.

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