Jun 4, 06 7:46pm Malaysiakini
It is a seven-way fight for the three vice-president post in MIC when nominations closed at noon today for the party's June 24 polls.
S Veerasingham and KS Nijhar are the in*****bents and they are joined by newcomer S Sothinathan, the MIC secretary general.
The trio form the official line-up and are challenged by business tycoon VKK Teagarajan, former vice-president M Muthupalaniappan, assemblyperson E Yohavel and newcomer Klang division chief Alex Teagarajan.
Muthupalaniappan, a perennial contender, knows the MIC ground well but one delegate asked: “Why should we vote for him again? He wins and disappears and reappears three years later.”
A wave of sympathy helped Muthupalaniappan win in 1994 but that feeling was hard to see this time around
For tycoon Teagarajan this is his first shot at a vice-president’s post. He was seen hanging around Samy Vellu for the best part of the day.
“He is trying to tell voters he is a Samy Vellu man. He avoids Subramaniam like a plague,” one MIC member remarked.
Teagarajan’s free wheeling ways will come as a minus point as delegates weigh whether to kick out one in the ‘official line-up’ and bring in an outsider.
The talk is that Nijhar is the weak point in the ‘official’ line-up for the vice-presidency but Nijhar is also the person who works the hardest to get elected.
“He is improving his chances by the hour with the huge effort he is putting in to meet delegates, thump shoulders and remind voters of his contributions,” party insiders said.
Veerasingham scored the highest votes in the last contest but again delegates are asking, “Should we return you again with the highest votes?”
Veerasingham was considered as a possible successor to Samy Vellu and as a possible candidate to fight Subramaniam.
But that is no longer the case and there is a big question mark on Veerasingham's future since an official challenger in Palanivel had been nominated for the deputy president’s post.
Sothinathan a minor celebrity
Sothinathan, trusted by Samy Vellu with financial matters, is the unfamiliar fish in the pond.
As secretary-general he is unpopular for some of the measures he has taken. He is also abrasive.
His dealings with the MIC rank-and-file were, in the words of a party veteran, consist of “sharp edges.”
“Delegates who had to deal with him remember him unkindly,” he said.
But Samy Vellu wants the newcomer elected and reminded delegates that Sothinathan had fought for the MIC and president’s interests.
Sothi as he is called was suspended from parliament for three months for defending the president over the controversy involving the Crimea University medical degrees.
As a result he is a minor celebrity and this should carry him in the contest, sources said.
“He suffered for us. You should remember that,” Samy Vellu reminded delegates at the Johor MIC convention last month.