Focus on vice-presidents in MIC elections


S. A. Vigneswaran will return unopposed as the MIC president. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, June 24, 2024.

INDIAN party MIC is making another attempt to stay relevant after more than a decade in the doldrums as the community switched loyalties to Pakatan Harapan (PH).

Support for PH has been shared between PKR and DAP, the latter holding more elected representatives than MIC.

MIC is now preparing for the final leg of its party elections on July 6.

The top two positions, president S. A. Vigneswaran and his deputy M. Saravanan, will see no challengers in the name of unity.

The main focus of the contest will be for the three vice president’s posts.

Incumbents T. Mohan, T. Murugiah, and M. Asojan will be challenged by Nelson Rengganathan, a relative newcomer to the party leadership.

Nelson is a former MIC Youth leader who quit in 2002 for personal reasons but was persuade to return by Vigneswaran. He is said to have the makings of a future MIC leader.

Nelson, who is a senator and the party’s education bureau chairman, started his campaign early by meeting the division and branch leaders throughout the country.

Party insiders said the contest for vice-president will be a keen one as all candidates are eyeing to become the number one vice-president.

Vigneswaran is into his third and final term. There are indications that his deputy Saravanan might eye the top post if a vacancy arises during the next party election after 2027.

The insider said the first MIC vice-president would stand a better chance of being “promoted” in the party’s hierarchy if and when a vacancy arises among the two top posts.

However, others in the party have questioned the “same old” faces which will now lead the party to face the next general election.

“We have the same leaders to lead, even if Nelson wins. The party should have allowed for contests for all posts. That way we could have spurred more new faces to show their mettle.

“What new can this current leadership do than what they have done since taking over in 2018? We have been continuously sidelined by the ruling parties and by the community and this will continue if we don’t do anything drastically different,” said a division leader who refused to be named for fear of party action.

Losing Indian support

Party leaders have talked about the need to reinvent the party.

With only one member of parliament, Saravanan, who is the Tapah MP, the party is not part of Anwar Ibrahim’s government.

The party also has to reinvent itself to face the new political realities of many more Malay-centric parties, a dwindling number of Indians, the emergence of a DAP splinter, Urimai, and the lack of Indian representation in the PH unity government.

Penang MIC chairman J. Dhinagaran said Vigneswaran, who took over as MIC president after Barisan Nasional lost federal power in 2018, has preached unity so there is no split in the party.

But what the president needs is a cohesive team to restore the party back into the good books of the Indians, said Dhinagaran in an interview.

He said that Urimai is not a threat to MIC because it is small and trying to woo support with half-truths rather than focusing on ensuring the community is better served.

MIC has more than 4,000 branches in 140 divisions, with six office bearers of each branch being eligible to vote for the three vice-presidents and 21 central working committee slots.

Party insiders said Vigneswaran is also expected to follow the footsteps of other former presidents in endorsing an official lineup for the main posts.

Both MIC Youth and Wanita MIC have new blood, with K. Arvind Krishnan elected unopposed as the new youth chief, replacing Tenggaroh assemblyman Ravin Krishnasamy.

Kemelah assemblyman N. Saraswathy and her running mate, Dr P. Thanaletchumi, were returned unopposed as the new Wanita chief and deputy. – June 24, 2024.


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