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MIC Elections 2009: Battle Lines Drawn In MIC Elections

Contributed by Anonymous on Sunday, August 23 @ 11:55:19 CDT

By S. Retnanathan

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 23 (Bernama) -- The battle lines have been drawn for an all-out war in the MIC elections on Sept 12, with three contestants vying for the post of deputy president, eight for the three posts of vice-president and a whopping 65 for the 23 posts in the central working committee (CWC).

Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who retained the post of president uncontested in March for a record 11th term as head of the party, has named his preferred candidates but the choice rests on the votes of the 1,464 delegates at the party general assembly.

The contest for all the positions has drawn much interest but the closely watched tussle will be that for the post of deputy president.

In*****bent Datuk G. Palanivel, who has Samy Vellu's backing, is facing a challenge for the post of deputy president from vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan and former deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam.

Party insiders reveal that at nomination yesterday at the party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Palanivel garnered 184 nominations, Sothinathan 10 and Subramaniam four.

The MIC constitution stipulates that each nomination paper must be signed by one proposer and five seconders and that all the proposers and seconders must be delegates eligible to vote at the party polls.

A party member requires only one nomination, signed by six delegates -- one proposer and five seconders, to qualify to contest the elections.

With the 184 nominations, Palanivel, 60, seems to be way ahead of Sothinathan and Subramaniam on the road to retaining the post of deputy president.

Going by the nominations he has received, Palanivel has the support of 1,104 of the 1,464 delegates, considering that each nomination paper must be signed by six delegates. Sothinathan and Subramaniam, on the other hand, have 60 and 24 delegates in hand, respectively, for the time being.

A simple calculation shows that 1,188 delegates have signed the nomination forms, leaving 276 so-called fence-sitters who have yet to pledge their support for any of the three candidates.

However, do the nomination statistics paint a clear picture of the outcome of the election? Former party treasurer-general Tan Sri M. Mahalingam does not believe so, and argues that while Palanivel seems to be in the lead, "things could be different on the ground".

"Look at the scenario. The last time around, Subramaniam had only one or two nominations but garnered some 400 or so votes. So, we cannot make a conclusion based on nomination forms but they can be used as a guide," said the veteran leader who was once a vice-president.

(At the last party elections, in 2006, Palanivel garnered 933 votes to beat Subramaniam, who secured 495 votes.)

A close aide to Palanivel, when contacted, said that while the nomination papers did not provide an accurate picture of the outcome, they could be used to gauge the delegates' support for the three contestants.

Asked about criticism that Palanivel was not seen mingling with the delegates during nomination yesterday, as reported in an English newspaper today, the aide said the in*****bent deputy president was busy signing nomination papers brought in by delegates at the eleventh hour.

"He was all the while with the delegates who wanted his signature. He had to satisfy them as they are the ones who will vote. He should not be seen as arrogant as grassroots leaders had taken their time and effort to put in nominations for him.

"The criticism is harsh and does not take into account the reality of things. Palanivel, with the president's backing, is in the lead but three weeks is a long way to go, so we cannot take things for granted," said the aide, who declined to be named.

On the other hand, both Sothinathan and Subramaniam are old hands at party polls. It is learnt that both the contenders had started their nationwide campaigning and are expected to roll full steam ahead in the next 20 days.

Although Samy Vellu criticised Subramaniam at a press conference after the nomination yesterday, the former deputy president is not expected to relent in his campaigning.

Said Mahalingam: "He (Subramaniam) is taking it in his stride. Everyone in MIC knows the bad blood between the two leaders from way back in the 1980s, so it's nothing new. The votes will continue to come in for Subramaniam, but the dark horse here is Sothinathan.

"He is capable of obtaining a considerable number of votes too and spoil the chances of Subramaniam. It can also work the other way round, where Subramaniam could spoil Sothinathan's chances by splitting the votes from fence-sitters and those undecided."

Subramaniam has his hardcore supporters, who are going out of their way to canvass for votes for the 64-year-old veteran leader, who has said that this would be his final attempt at reclaiming the deputy presidency.

Sothinathan, meanwhile, is banking on his past tenure as party secretary-general general and vice-president to capture votes.

The 49-year-old leader is the youngest of the three contestants and is seen as a young and vibrant leader well-accepted by the Malaysian Indian community.

"But whether the MIC delegates will accept him is another question. The 1,400-odd delegates are the ones deciding and not the Malaysian Indian community. And Samy Vellu has his grasp on at least 60 per cent of the 1,464 delegates who will vote and that could tell you who might win," said a division leader who declined to be named.

Be a gentleman and shut up, Samy Vellu tells Subra
2009/08/23 Suganthi Suparmaniam KUALA LUMPUR: "I will wallop him left, right and centre if he does not keep quiet. I don't give a damn about him." MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu was in top form yesterday slamming his former deputy, Datuk S. Subramaniam, after nominations closed.

Samy Vellu, who was returned unopposed for an 11th term as party president in March, added: "If he wants to be a gentleman, he shouldn't open his mouth unneces-sarily."

Samy Vellu said in 1979, when he took on Subramaniam for the deputy's post, then president the late Tan Sri V. Manikavasagam had supported Subramaniam. (From left) MIC deputy president hopefuls Datuk G. Palanivel, Datuk S. Sothinathan and Datuk S. Subramaniam after handing in their nomination forms yesterday.
"He may have forgotten that. I went through hell at that time. There were even gangsters who threatened me to withdraw while he went around the country like a bridegroom."

At a press conference after nominations closed, Samy Vellu defended in*****bent Datuk G. Palanivel, his choice for the deputy's post.

Palanivel, with the backing of the party supremo, defeated Subramaniam for the post in the last party elections three years ago. Another candidate vying for the post is in*****bent vice-president Datuk S. Sothi-nathan.

While Subramaniam and Sothinathan were seen mingling with the more than 1,000 delegates and supporters, Palanivel greeted them only when the names of contenders were announced at 1pm.

Asked to comment on this, Subramaniam said: "Well, I am the people's man and I am always with the people."

He also took a swipe at Samy Vellu saying that the president was behaving like he was the fourth deputy president hopeful.

"The best thing for him to do is to take this post, too. Then, there would be no disagreement."

Asked to comment on talk that the real fight for the post was between him and Sothinathan, Subramaniam replied: "No. The real fight is between me and Samy Vellu."

Samy Vellu earlier announced his preferred list of 27 candidates for the 23 central working committee posts, saying he named 27 candidates to offer delegates a choice.
His choices are Datuk G. Rajoo, Datuk R. Ganesan, Datuk K.R.A. Naidu, S.S. Rajagopal, R. Ragumoorthy, P. Loges-wary, G. Vimala Nair, S. Murugesan, K. Partiban, S. Saktivel, Datuk G. Jaspal Singh, N. Ravisandaran, P. Palaniappan, G. Jayakumaraan;
Datuk T. Rajagopalu, V. Mohan, A. Ganesan, M.M. Samy, M. Asojan, Datuk J. Randir Singh, Datuk R. Raghavan, Datuk Dr K. Rajapathy, Datuk P.K. Subbiah, Datuk V. Saravanan, S. Ananthan, Datuk M. Davendran and Datuk M. Panjamoorthy.

Another 38 people have also submitted nominations for positions on the CWC.



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