P. Subbarayan - As Chief Minister of Madras Presidency

As Chief Minister of Madras Presidency

In the Assembly elections which took place on 8 November 1926, no party was able to get a clean majority. The Swaraj Party won 41 of the 98 seats and emerged as the single largest party while the Justice Party won 21. It was a setback for the Justice Party and its incumbent Chief Minister, the Raja of Panagal. However, none of the parties could form the Government as they did not have a clean majority.

The Governor invited the Swarajya Party to take the lead in forming a coalition government but the latter refused. The Justice Party did not have enough seats. Hence, the Governor chose Subbarayan, who was not affiliated to either of these parties, to form the Government and nominated 34 new members to the Madras Legislative Council to support him. An independent ministry was formed with A. Ranganatha Mudaliar and R. N. Arogyaswamy Mudaliar as the second and third ministers. The Justice Party took the place of an opposition.

Subbarayan's Cabinet
Portfolio Minister
Education, Local Self-Government P. Subbarayan (Also Chief Minister) (1926–1930)
Public health, excise A. Ranganatha Mudaliar (1926–1928)
S. Muthiah Mudaliar (1928–1930)
Development R. N. Arogyasamy Mudaliar (1926–1928)
M. R. Sethuratnam Iyer (1928–1930)

Because of the fact that Subbarayan's regime was appointed and largely controlled by the Governor, it became the target of strong criticism both from the Justicites as well as the Swarajists. In March 1927, P. Munuswamy Naidu of the Justice Party passed a motion recommending salary cuts for Government ministers. However, they were defeated by a margin of 41 votes. A no-confidence motion was passed on 23 August 1927, but was defeated 56 to 67 with the support of the Governor and the members nominated by him.

The Simon Commission was appointed by the British Parliament in 1927 to report on the working of the progress of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. The Swarajya Party moved a resolution to boycott the Commission and this was passed 61 to 50 with 12 remaining neutral. Subbarayan opposed the resolution but his cabinet ministers Ranganatha Mudaliar and Arogyaswamy Mudaliar supported it. Subbarayan resigned as Chief Mnister, but at the same time, he also compelled his ministers to submit their resignations. Fearing the possibility of the formation of a Swarajya Party-Justice Party coalition Government, the Governor stepped in to foster discord amongst the opposition. In order to obtain the support of the Raja of Panagal,he appointed Krishnan Nair, a leading member of the Justice Party as his Law Member. Led by the Raja of Panagal, the Justice Party switched sides and lent its support to the Subbarayan government. Soon afterwards, the Justice Party passed a resolution welcoming the Simon Commission. The Simon Commission visited Madras on 28 February 1928 and 18 February 1929 and was boycotted by the Swarajya Party and the Indian National Congress. However, the Justicites and the Subbarayan Government accorded the Commission a warm reception.

In the 1930 elections, due to the non-participation of the Indian National Congress and the Swarajya Party, the Justice Party won an overwhelming majority and was voted to power. Subbarayan was succeeded as Chief Minister by Munuswamy Naidu.

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