On 16th August 1932 Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald announced in the British Parliament the proposal on minority representation known as the Communal Award. The award reserved a number of seats in the provincial legislature. According to this award Muslim, Christians, Anglo-Indians, Europeans and Sikh voters would elect their candidates by voting in separate communal electorates. The award declared the depressed classes also to be a minority community entitled to separate electorates and thus separated them from rest of the Hindus. They also had the right to vote in the remaining general constituencies also. MacDonald promised to accept any alternative scheme mutually agreed upon by the Hindus and the depressed classes. Gandhiji reacted strongly to the proposal and wrote to the British PM on 18th August 1932.He went on fast unto death on 20th September 1932 to enforce his demand. Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya summoned a conference of all castes and political parties including Dr. BR Ambedkar to sort out the issue. On 25th September 1932 they arrived at an agreement in Poona known as Poona Pact .The Poona Pact had concluded with the following terms
The principle of joint and common electorate was accepted for all Hindus.48 seats in different provincial legislatures were reserved for the depressed classes in place of 71.18% of the seats in the Central Legislature were reserved for the depressed classes. Adequate representation would be given to the depressed classes in the civil services.