The Quaid toured the whole country, visiting every corner of India, addressing meetings, meeting Muslim students, arguing with double-minded local leaders, exposing the policies of the Hindu Congress and slowly creating political consciousness among his people.

Meanwhile, the Act of 1935 was passed that was a clear attempt to crush the forces working for democracy and freedom. Therefore, the Muslim League rejected it.

The provincial part of the constitution was however, accepted "for what it was worth".

Jinnah concentrated on the constitutional struggle within the Legislative Assembly and advocated his point of view with great strength and skill.

"I believe that it (the proposed federation) means nothing but absolute sacrifice of all that British India has stood for and developed during the last 50 years, in the matter of progress in the representative form of the Government. No province was consulted as such. No consent of the provinces has been obtained whether they are willing to federate as federating units on the terms which are laid down… by the British Government. My next objection is that it is not workable."

In order to strengthen the League, bolster its bargaining position, and help prepare it for contesting elections, Jinnah appointed and presided over a new Central Parliamentary Board and affiliated provincial parliamentary boards. These boards, similar to those earlier established by the Congress, were to become Jinnah's organizational arms in extending his power over the entire Muslim community.

In the 1937 elections, the Muslim League did not do well and won only 109 seats out of 482 it contested. The Muslim League failed to win majority in any of the Muslim provinces, where regional non-communal parties like the Unionists in the Punjab won majorities and formed ministries. The results of the elections demoralized many of the League leader. The only redeeming feature was that the Congress had miserably failed to gain any Muslim seat and it had only succeeded in gaining Hindu and Sikh seats in the Muslim provinces. The Congress had failed because it had made no effort to contact the Muslim masses, and was certain that politics based on economic issues would prevail in India. However, the conditions on which the Congress wanted to co-operate with the Muslim League were so humiliating that no self-respecting party could accept them. The Congress was prepared to accept Muslims only if they ceased to have a separate political entity and were merged in the Hindu-dominated Congress. The Muslim League, of course, refused to do that for the sake of a few cabinet posts. The attitude of the Congress towards other parties opened the eyes of all sections of politically conscious people. The Unionists and other small parties who had been cold towards the Muslim League also changed their attitude within a year of the Congress taking control of power in the provinces. Fear of the dictatorial attitude of the Congress and the pressure of Muslim public opinion soon influenced local Muslim parties and one by one they came into the fold of the League or at least allied themselves with it.

Gandhi and Jinnah - a study in contrasts

An extract from the book that riled India's Bharatiya Janata Party and led to the expulsion of its author Jaswant Singh, one of the foun...