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Clan titans' clash throws spanner in main contest

Contributed by Anonymous on Tuesday, September 08 @ 23:20:19 CDT

NST, 2009/09/09 KUALA LUMPUR: The clash between two titans from the Gounder clan -- Datuk S. Subramaniam and Datuk S. Sothinathan -- for the MIC deputy presidency on Saturday appears to be overshadowing their joint effort to oust in*****bent Datuk G. Palanivel. The grassroots, especially clansmen of the two senior leaders, are divided over who to back as they challenge Palanivel, party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu's candidate for the No. 2 post.

On one hand there is the experienced Subramaniam, 65, who has been dubbed periya (senior) Gounder due to his 26 years as deputy to Samy Vellu.

On the other end is the much younger Sothinathan, 49, dubbed chinna (junior) Gounder, who has the relative youth required to be a leader who can stay and consolidate the party in the post-Samy Vellu years.
Party insiders say Sothin-athan, who at one point was ahead of Subramaniam, appeared to be lagging behind now. This could be due to the fact that despite Sothinathan's statement that he had not been planted by Samy Vellu to split the Gounder vote (they account for about 30 per cent of delegates), many were not buying this.

The sources point to the former deputy natural resources and environment minister's unyielding allegiance over the past two decades to the party chief as reason enough to disbelieve him.

They said another reason for Sothinathan's flagging fortunes could be that younger delegates, who were once his staunch supporters, have had a change of heart after viewing Subramaniam's list of candidates.

"Delegates see this as a move towards real change. If Subramaniam and his team win, the entire system can be changed," said a source who added that Sothinathan was being seen as a one-man show.

A source from Johor MIC said many may chose Subramaniam over Sothinathan as they feared that the latter may patch up with the party chief after the polls. This has happened several times in the past with other leaders who fell afoul of Samy Vellu but who came back to the fold after overtures by the party chief.

The source said the enmity between Samy Vellu and Subramaniam had reached the point of no return and this was why the anti-Samy Vellu faction was putting its money on the former deputy president.

As for Palanivel, the insiders said he could make it past the post given the benefits of in*****bency. But the margin of victory could be wafer-thin, and a direct contrast to the handsome victory over Subramaniam who was the in*****bent in 2006.

It is learnt that strong anti-Samy Vellu sentiments are prevailing among delegates from the northern states while most of the Klang Valley and the south are in the party chief's camp.

"Samy Vellu's loyalists may support him and his team but be assured, their support has dwindled. The silent opposition will show its hand," a MIC leader from Klang said.
The elections will see nearly 1,500 delegates electing a deputy president, three vice-presidents and 23 central working committee (CWC) members. While the deputy president's post is contested by three, seven candidates are vying for the three vice-presidents' posts.
Samy Vellu has named party secretary-general and sole minister in the cabinet, Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, Cameron Highlands member of parliament Datuk S.K. Devamany and Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk M. Saravanan as preferred candidates for the vice-presidency slots.******The StarWednesday September 9, 2009 26-vote margin still fresh in my mind, says Subra
PETALING JAYA: Datuk S. Subramaniam has hit out at his nemesis MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu for claiming that the 30 “pocketed votes” in the 1977 party elections was an impossibility. The former party deputy president also brushed off Samy Vellu’s claim that he and Datuk V. Govindaraj were “pathological liars”. “Govindaraj told me he did it. He was Samy Vellu’s man and led his campaign then. “I can’t recall off-hand the total number of votes cast in 1977 but I know that the difference was 26. That is still fresh in my mind.” Govindaraj told an English daily recently that he took the 30 votes cast for Subramaniam during the party polls that saw Samy Vellu defeating Subramaniam for the deputy president’s post by a mere 26 votes. He was quoted as saying that he did it at the spur of the moment without instigation. Expressing regret over his actions, Govindaraj, who was Samy Vellu’s one-time ally, said he realised that the party’s leadership in the last 30 years would have been different had he not taken the 30 votes. Samy Vellu eventually became party president after the death of Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam in 1979. Asked to comment on Samy Vellu’s retort that there were no unaccounted-for votes in the election, Subra-maniam said only the delegates list for the election would prove the total number of votes cast. “Maybe Samy Vellu would like to swear in a temple that he is right.” On Govindaraj’s actions, Subramaniam said he forgave him a long time ago and that they had remained good friends. “But when I found out about the incident, it was past the time for any challenge or complaint. “I realise that with the 30 votes I could have won but we can’t do anything about it now. “Time has passed. At least he (Govindaraj) had the courage to admit it publicly and apologise for it.”



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