Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jostling begins for seats in MIC

the largest Indian-based party in the country, has yet to reach a consensus on candidates to be fielded for the general election.

It is learnt the latest meeting to draw up the final list was held on Monday night but insiders revealed the list was about 80 per cent complete.

Former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who had declared his intention to seek another term for the Sungai Siput parliament seat if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was agreeable, has been overlooked altogether.

According to sources, this was because the prime minister would rather have a younger candidate to contest the seat in the once MIC stronghold.

MIC vice-president and current Cameron Highlands MP Datuk S.K. Devamany has been named to contest the seat though many say he is reluctant to accept due to fears that he would be sabotaged by Subang Jaya South 's supporters.

Sources say the best candidate for Sungai Siput would be MIC youth chief T. Mohan, who is touted to be "Samy's man" and would be better received by the branches and divisions there.

 SOTHINATHAN                      PALANIVEL

MOHAN                            DALJIT SINGH

However, party president Datuk G. Palanivel has instead named Mohan, who is among the popular up-and-coming party leaders to contest the Sri Andalas state seat.

Sources revealed that this move by Palanivel was not in good faith and there is speculation that fielding Mohan there was aimed at ''killing two birds with one stone''.

This is because Kota Raja MIC division chief R.S. Maniam was also vying to contest the seat and had been working hard to serve the Sri Andalas constituents.

''By fielding Mohan there, we believe it is the president's tactics to pit these two MIC strongmen against each other, resulting in a no-win situation for either of them,'' said the source.

Another name mentioned for the Kota Raja seat is former MIC Senator Datuk Daljit Singh Dhaliwal, who said he is looking forward to serving the people.

“It is important that any potential MIC parliamentary candidate must be willing to work and sacrifice his time for the people.

“In 2008, MIC lost a number of seats because the people were looking for change. But with hard work put forth by the prime minister, the public have begun to accept that Barisan Nasional is a solid party that can deliver," said Daljit.

Daljit said MIC lost Indian support when Hindraf took to the streets to fight for Indian rights in 2007 but since then, the party has regained their support.

He said Hindraf may have had a blueprint but MIC has always worked hard for Indian rights and has its own “blueprint” to help Indians “There is good indication that the urban Indian vote is returning to the party but for MIC to win a seat, all Barisan Nasional component parties need to do their part in helping the party.''

Former MIC youth chief S.A. Vigneswaran was strongly tipped to contest the Kota Raja parliament seat but withdrew at the last minute on Monday night.

''Vigneswaran told Palanivel at Monday's meeting that he was not interested and did not want to contest in Kota Raja.

''Apparently he made this decision following sentiments on the ground that indicated he had a slim chance of victory.''

He and Mohan were earlier seen working together to service the constituents in Kota Raja and Sri Andalas.

"As of now, we do not see Vigneswaran contesting any seat,'' said the source.

MIC secretary-general S. Murugesan, who contested and lost the Subang parliamentary seat in 2008, is strongly tipped to contest the Teluk Kemang parliament seat in Negri Sembilan.

However, he is getting strong resistance from former MIC vice-president, Datuk S. Sothinathan who lost the Teluk Kemang seat to Parti Keadilan Rakyat's Datuk Kamarul Baharin by a slim majority in 2008.

According to sources there, Palanivel strongly favours Murugesan as former vice president S. Sothinathan is among those touted as "Samy's men".

Another name mentioned for the parliament seat is current Jeram Padang state assemblyman Datuk V.S. Mogan.

Mogan, a first term assemblyman, is said to be a favourite among the state BN leaders due to his humble demeanour. He is also a current Negri Sembilan exco member.

Palanivel himself will contest the Cameron Highlands parliament seat, forcing Devamany to become the 'sacrificial lamb' in Sungai Siput.

As for new faces, Puchong MIC division chief A. Sakhtivel is tipped to contest the Kapar parliament seat, of which he is already the coordinator.

Prakash Roa, the former personal assistant to Devamany and the Seri Murugan Centre director, is strong rumoured to be contesting the Subang parliament seat.

"Overall, Palanivel has made too many promises to too many people in the party and at this point, he is unable to fulfill them.

''The coming general election is going to be an uphill battle for this party,"' said the source.

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