KUALA LUMPUR: It was an unusual scene women delegates attending Sundays party polls were asked by their party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu to stand up and do a little exercise to relieve tension.
While opening the joint convention of MIC Youth, Wanita MIC and Puteri MIC, Samy Vellu had observed edginess among the women.
After all, this was the first time that there was a contest for the Wanita chief's post between incumbent Datin Paduka Jaya Partiban and her secretary Komala Krishnamoorthy.
Both claimed to have the support of the leadership but party officials said strong campaigning by state chairmen tilted the results in favour of the challenger.
There was an air of confidence that Jaya, the incumbent for the past six years, would retain her post. But within an hour of the vote count, word went around that Komala, who is the Education Ministry parliamentary secretary, had won by a credible margin.
After the official announcement by Samy Vellu, Komala thanked the delegates, husband P. Krishnamoorthy and all others who had worked for her success.
I will work with all parties in Wanita MIC although there were differences of opinion among some Wanita leaders in the run-up to the elections, she said.
We work as a team. We will move as a team for the betterment of Indian women and the community as a whole.
Samy Vellu said the new Wanita MIC leadership had much work to do and needed to perform better than the previous leadership.
Indian women have a lot of problems. I hope the new leadership will try to come out with ways to solve these problems. I am always willing to lend them a hand, he said.
Jaya believes several state chairmen had played a major part in influencing the women to cast their votes for Komala.
The women were not given the freedom to express themselves, she alleged.
The state chairmen campaigned against me and forced them to vote for their choice. It was an unfair fight.
She nevertheless managed to garner 43.7% of the womens votes.
I am sad that some of the women leaders who had been working hard and had done a lot for the movement were also defeated, while women who became division chiefs in March, and without any record, were voted in. This is not good for Wanita MIC, she said.
Former Wanita MIC deputy chief Kamala Ganapathy said a mixture of professionals and non-professionals were elected into the women's movement.
I dont think there would be a split, as both Jaya and Komalas line-ups were voted in. If one team had won all, then there would be a split, she said, adding that democracy had taken place.
In the Youth wing, former secretary S. Murugesan, who quit in January, managed to revive his political career. He polled 260 votes to join favourite T. Mohan as the two representatives in the partys central working committee. The third candidate, K. Raj Kumar, polled 184 votes.
Among the 12 voted into the national youth council were Selayang councillor P. Kamalanathan and former Malaysian cyclist M. Kumaresan.
Youth chief S.A. Vigneswaran and his deputy S. Ramis had been returned unopposed.