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The Malayan Indian Congress had contested in the 1952 Kuala Lumpur Municipal Elections in alliance with the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP) under Dato' Onn bin Jaffar and other non-communal organisations. However the 1952 elections proved the MIC's attempt to preach and practise non-communalism would not prevail in Malayan politics when communalism was the winning factor. The defeat has shown the MIC that it stood a better chance by joining the Alliance as it was the most workable and effective form of political technique in the Malayan context.

According to Rajeswary Ampalavanar, author of The Indian Minority and Political Change in Malaya 1954-1957, the MIC leadership was quite eager to join the Alliance but there was some resistance within the party’s broader membership. They were willing to support the move if the party could secure some concessions from the Alliance on inter-communal issues, particularly on education.

Then MIC president K.L. Devaser came under heavy criticism from the Tamil media for not addressing the pressing issues facing the community. While he was quite outspoken, his influence was largely among the urban-based Indian elite and he lacked wider grassroots support.

Some in the party felt that there was a need for a leader with a stronger relationship with the party’s grassroots. In March 1955, reports in the local daily Tamil Murasu urged Tamils to boycott the MIC.

Tun V. T. Sambanthan, then a state MIC leader, emerged during this period as an alternative candidate for the party leadership. Going by historical records, he was literally coerced into taking up the presidency. Another candidate, P.P. Narayanan, was approached by party leaders but turned down their invitation because he wanted to concentrate on union activities.

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 It was under Devaser's presidency that the MIC joined the Alliance in 1954, which was then a political coalition formed between the United Malays National Organisation and the Malayan Chinese Association. The political alliance has stood the test of time over 50 years and continues today as the Barisan Nasional

 

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K.L. Devaser