On January 25, 1933 the representatives of the constituent organizations comprised in the All Travancore Joint Political Conference held a meeting in the L.M.S. Hall at Thiruvananthapuram and adopted the famous ‘Abstention Resolution’ 5 The Resolution stated, among other things, that Reservation of seats on population basis for the various considerable communities in joint multi -member territorial constituencies is the only remedy to safeguard the interests of the various communities concerned and to alleviate the communal bitterness and eradicate communal ill feeling in the present condition of Travancore.’ It also expressed the view that no useful purpose would be served, if members of these communities managed to get into the Legislature. The operative part of the resolution ran as follows: - “Whereas this Conference is of opinion that no useful purpose will be served if only a few members of these communities manage to get into the Legislature;

This conference of the delegates of the various political organizations of the Christian, Ezhava and Muslim communities and of the members of these communities resolve that they should abstain from taking part either by voting or by standing as candidates in the election or by accepting nominations to the reformed legislative bodies so long as Government do not make provision for the representation by election of all considerable communities proportionate to their population in the Legislature.”

The response of the Government to the demand of the Abstentionists was that population cannot be a deciding factor in fixing the quota of seats for various communities and that it would be impossible to adjust the territorial extent of constituencies in case of reservation for such a large number of communities. The Christians were assured that they would get a fair share of representation under the adjustment of electorates as proposed. The Ezhavas and Muslims were told that the members of their communities would be accommodated in the nomination quota. The Government appealed to the leaders of the communities to give the reform a fair trial and assured them that in the light of the experience gained in the process, whatever changes were deemed necessary could be made. The Abstentionists rejected the appeal and reiterated their stand in regard to abstention until their demand was fully conceded. They decided to go ahead with their agitational programmes. Public meetings were held in various parts of the State.

- A. Sreedhara Menon
Triumph & Tragedy in Travancore