KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 (Bernama) -- With five days to go before polling in the MIC elections, the 60 candidates vying for various national party positions have come up with innovative ways to win the hearts and minds of the 1,441 delegates who will cast their ballots.
The election paraphernalia includes colour booklets and brochures and calling cards with the names of the respective candidates, their slogans, track records and, last but not least, a plea to the delegates to vote for the respective candidates.
The MIC polls this time round, one of the most heated in nearly two decades, will see contests for the post of deputy president, three posts of vice-president and 23 posts in the Central Working Committee (CWC). The president's post was won unopposed by Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu for a record 10th term at nominations in March.
In*****bent deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam faces a challenge from vice-president Datuk G. Palanivel for the No 2 post.
The race for the three posts of vice-president is among seven aspirants, in*****bents Datuk S. Veerasingham and Tan Sri K. S. Nijhar, party secretary-general Datuk S. Sothinathan, Kuala Lumpur MIC chief Datuk V.K.K. Teagarajan, party veteran Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan, former Si Rusa state assemblyman E. Yohevel and newcomer P. Thiagarasan, better known as Alex Thiagarasan.
It must be noted that Palanivel, Veerasingham, Nijhar and Sothinathan are the "preferred" candidates of Samy Vellu. The MIC supremo had also put up a list of "preferred" CWC members. A total of 51 candidates are vying for the 23 CWC positions, including Samy Vellu's chosen 23.
While the "preferred" candidates, also known as the official team in the coming elections, have come up with joint pamphlets complete with their respective numbers that would be on the ballot papers, the "independents" are going it alone.
Subramaniam has released an 18-page colour pamphlet, carrying his pictures in various poses and outlining his achievements over the last 25 years as deputy president. It is learnt that the pamphlet was printed only in Tamil.
Palanivel, meanwhile, has taken a more conservative approach, releasing a book entitled "Datuk Palanivel - A Profile in Leadership and Commitment". The book traces the vice-president's childhood days right up to his involvement in consumer-related activities and eventually politics.
Printed in Tamil, English and Bahasa Malaysia, the book gives a meaningful insight of the former Bernama journalist, sharing with readers his ideas and the services he had rendered since joining the party in 1972.
Vice-president Nijhar has come out with two colour booklets, one explaining his achievements and contributions and the other outlining an election manifesto.
Sothinathan and Veerasigham, on the other hand, have produced booklets explaining their respective contributions to the party and their achievements.
The "opposition" candidates, not to be outdone, are also using booklets. One of the more catchy ones is Teagarajan's, which starts with the line "I too have a dream".
All these election campaign materials do not use just normal paper but glossy paper.
The tussle for posts in the CWC also sees a flood of similar election paraphernalia. All candidates have come out with calling cards with their respective numbers that would be on the ballot papers, printed prominently.
Several, like C. S. Selvaraj, an independent front-runner expected to break into the president's CWC list, have printed pamphlets filled with colour pictures.
However, one CWC candidate has broken the mould by distributing T-shirts to delegates asking them to vote for him. M. Lokanathan of Sungai Siput, Perak, makes it a point to hand-deliver the T-shirts and, by doing so, has personal interaction with the delegates.
While thousands of ringgit have been spent on these campaign materials, their effectiveness will only be known on the evening of June 24 when the election results are announced.