The Round Table Conferences (rtcs)

First RTC

  • The first Round Table Conference was held in London between November 1930 and January 1931 and was chaired by Ramsay MacDonald.

  • This was the first conference arranged between the British and the Indians as equals.

  • The Congress and some prominent business leaders refused to attend it.

  • The Princely States, Muslim League, Justice Party, Hindu Mahasabha etc. attended it.

  • Nothing much was achieved at the conference. The British government realized that the participation of the Indian National Congress was necessary in any discussion on the future of constitutional government in India.

Second RTC

  • The second Round Table Conference was held in London from September 7, 1931 to December 1, 1931. By this time, Lord Irwin had been replaced by Lord Willingdon as viceroy in India.

  • The Indian National Congress nominated Gandhi as its sole representative.

  • There were a large number of Indian participants, besides the Congress. The Princely States, Muslim League, Justice Party, Hindu Mahasabha etc. attended it.

  • The session got deadlocked on the question of the minorities. Separate electorates were being demanded by the Muslims, depressed classes, Christians and Anglo-Indians.

  • All these came together in a ‘Minorities’ Pact’. Gandhi fought desperately against this concerted move to make all constitutional progress conditional on the solving of this issue.

  • The lack of agreement among the many delegate groups meant that no substantial results regarding India’s constitutional future would come out of the conference.


  • The government refused to concede the basic Indian demand of freedom. Gandhi returned to India and gave a call to resume the Civil Disobedience Movement.


Third RTC

  • The third Round Table Conference, held between November 17, 1932 and December 24, 1932, was not attended by the Indian National Congress and Gandhi. It was ignored by most other Indian leaders

  • Apart from princely states representatives like Aga Khan III, B.R. Ambedkar, Muhammad Iqbal, M.R. Jayakar, N.M. Joshi etc. were present.

  • Again, like in the two previous conferences, little was achieved. The recommendations were published in a White Paper in March 1933 and debated in the British Parliament afterwards based on which Government of India Act 1935 was enacted.

  • B.R. Ambedkar attended all the three round table conferences.

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