Gandhiji felt that separate
electrorates would only separate the Harijans from the Hindus. The very thought that the
Hindu would be devided pained him much. He started a fast against separate electorates. He
said he would fast unto death in necessary.
There was anxiety in the country because of Gandhijis fast.
Many Congress leaders went to Ambedkar to save Gandhiji.
"Muslims, Christians and Sikhs have obtained the right of separate electorates.
Gandhiji did not fast to oppose them. Why should Gandhiji fast to oppose Harijans getting
separate electorates?" questioned Ambedkar. "If you are unwilling to give the
untouchables separate electorates, what other solution is there? It is
essential to save Gandhiji. But just to save him I am not prepared to give up the
interests of the backward classes," he declared. He said, reserve a larger number of
seats for the untouchables than the British have given; then I will give up the
claim for separate electorates."
At last there was an agreement between the leaders who had gone for a compromise and
Ambedkar. It was decided that ten per cent of the seats in the legislatures should be
reserved for the Harijans. Ambedkar gave up the claim for separate electorates. Gandhiji
ended his fast.
This famous treaty is called the Poona Treaty was another important step in the
struggle of the backward people