MIC is heading for a change after being in ‘slumberland’ for a decade since the party lost its hold on the Indian community.
It is going to the poll on Friday to re-elect its leaders, one year after a hard-fought internal battle with its the president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel who had tried to hang on to his post despite the ruling by Registrar of Societies (RoS) that the 2013 party election was null and void.
On Friday, party delegates will elect their choices for the party deputy president, three vice-presidents and 23 central working committees CWCs) for the term from 2013 to 2016.
For the party presidency, former deputy president Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam won uncontested in August after receiving 450 nominations from 2,700 branches of the total 2,843 branches around the country.
For Friday’s deputy president post, Perak state assembly Speaker Datuk Seri SK Devamany is facing Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk M. Saravanan.
Devamany, who was Cameron Highlands MP, had sacrificed the seat by giving it to Palanivel to contest in the 2013 general election and was fielded for the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat where he lost.
A four-cornered fight is set for the three vice-presidents posts and the candidates are former party youth chiefs Datuk T. Mohan and Datuk SA Vigneswaran, party information chief Datuk VS Mogan and former party treasurer Datuk Jaspal Singh.
Forty-four aspirants will be contesting the 23 CWC positions where some 1,500 delegates will be taking part in the voting.
The election is not expected to be tense as going by the appearance of candidates, they seemed to have the party and community interested in heart and mind.
Thus far, no campaigning that cause rifts and violence which is the trademark of the party election years ago have been heard.
The Indian community has been expecting the party to be rejuvenated as many who gambled their fates with opposition parties such DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) found out the hard way that their future has never been part of these parties agenda.
Expecting a rejuvenation and a better future where their welfare will taken care of given that the party is the third biggest and oldest component party of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) since before Independence, Subramaniam and the new-to-be elected leaders are expected to face a long and winding road to reach the desired destination.
Putting aside Palanivel’s influence among those elected, Subramaniam will have to into members unity, given in any democratic organisation where factionisms exist after an election.
Then he and the new team will have to chart the party’s path which was not done by Palanivel since he took over in 2013.
However, given BN’s chairman who is also the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s moderate, non-antagonistic and accommodative approaches, Subramaniam and his new team can expect some leverage in the rough and winding path.
Subramaniam and the new team are expected to first clean the party image that has been battered since the 2008 general election where the community it represented has been wondering around looking for an umbrella to care for their welfare.