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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.”