PETALING JAYA: The fight for the vice-president and Central Working Committee (CWC) post is set to end today as delegates will be voting for the suitable candidates to aid the leadership held by president Datuk Seri G.Palanivel and deputy Datuk S.Subramaniam for the next four years.
Eight candidates will be contesting for the three VP post while 88 candidates will vie it out for 23 places in the CWC this Nov 30.
Before the elections, things were heating up as candidates went great lengths to attract delegates to vote for them for the upcoming elections.
One party insider said that candidates are giving out cards, pamphlets and even visited division centres around the country to gain some publicity and votes.
Controversy also ensued after MIC suspended the party’s Youth wing polls results to investigate irregularities in the election held on Nov 16.
The decision was taken following a complaint lodged by a Youth member.
There were claims that seven people who were bankrupt were allowed to vote in the polls while the ballot belonging to a delegate who was overseas during the election was cast by someone else.
MIC has since rescinded its decision to suspend the party's youth wing poll results and will allow delegates to participate in Saturday's main annual general meeting (AGM).
Vice-president candidate Datuk T.Mohan said that he has covered 80% of the divisions for campaigning and is confident that the delegates will make the right choice for the elections.
"Apart from the youths, the other delegates that I've met have given me a good feedback and I'm confident of my chances for the VP race," said Mohan.
If elected, he plans to strengthen the party and regain the indian support for GE14. Another candidate Datuk S.Sothinathan is busy doing his rounds for campaigning and said that he is confident even though he faces stern competition from other candidates.
During nomination day, one party insider mentioned that the likes of Datuk M.Saravanan and Datuk Seri S.K. Devamany looks set to retain their post as VP while the one vacant slot is a competition between Jaspal Singh, Datuk T.Mohan and Datuk S.A. Vigneswaran.
“Sothinathan is trying to make comeback but I think he will not succeed this time. Palanivel has also mentioned names like Jaspal and Vigneswaran in some branch meetings thus giving them an advantage in the race,” said the party insider.
According to Universiti Sains Malaysia's (USM) political analyst Dr. P. Sivamurugan, the party elections which was postponed for almost a year will be eagerly awaited by the delegates.
"We see many candidates offering themselves for the elections and be part of the democratization process within the party.
"It is encouraging and good for the party, also giving the delegates lots of choices to elect the most suitable candidates for both positions," said Dr Sivamurugan.
For the VP race, Sivamurugan said that the candidates in it are from various backgrounds with vast experiences and they are well known within the party.
"It could be a close call as many factors contribute to the voting pattern among the delegates,"
According to Dr. Sivamurugan, the last 48 hours will determine who will be favourites for three VP post but for now he can’t determine the front-runners for the competition.
Datuk Seri G.Palanivel commented that there were too many contestants for the CWC race but Dr Sivamurugan said that it shows that there are many delegates out there who want to contribute for the party.
“The high number of candidates offering themselves for the CWC shows that democracy is practiced and allows those who believe they are capable to contribute for the party to come forward and offer themselves.
"I strongly believe rational and practical delegates knows who and why they should cast their vote for the selected one, based on their own evaluation," when asked if delegates would be able to decide who will become the 23 CWC members.
For the president's post, although some delegates expected to see contest, the decision is considered wise.
"This is done in order to avoid factionalism among top leaders within the party.
"From past elections, it was not easy to unite the followers as the party were divided by various groups and factions," he said.
He also said that a compromise was reached to put party interest above any other interest.
Support for MIC have dwindled over the past few years and according to Dr.Sivamurugan, the leadership has to focus on the needs, demands and read the mindset of the people such as the old and young and urban and rural.
"Engagement is the best way to unite members, lead by example and protect the interest of the Indian community.
"It is not an easy journey to bring back the trust and confidence of the people especially the younger generation. However, with determination and motivation to be responsible and committed, we may see a change - which may not be drastic but the changes will take place gradually," he said.
Saying that the community has placed high hopes on them, Deputy President and Health Minister Datuk S.Subramaniam said: "The next four years will be very important and we will work hard to bring back the Indian support for BN."
He urged delegates to analyse the candidates for vice-president and CWC.
"All the candidates have good track record and have contributed to the party in their own way.
"Analyse each of them and make sure you make the suitable choice," he said.