Monday, June 1, 2009

The Golden Bullet in Samy's Political Revolver

The news that the MIC’s Sothinathan will contest for the deputy president’s post surely must not have come as any surprise to the other declared candidates: G. Palanivel and S. Subramaniam. And I doubt very much if any of you who have been paying attention to the sinking ship otherwise known as the MIC, would have had any doubts that this announcement of Sothinathan’s candidacy was imminent.

For those of you still somewhat in a Kuala Lumpur-like thick haze about this, let me try to clear this up a little for you. Let’s start by asking yourself this: Why would Sothinathan – a widely known and longstanding confidant of Samy Vellu – throw his hat in the ring to take on two MIC heavyweights?

Yes, S. Subramaniam, the long marginalised stalwart of the MIC may once have been the president-in-waiting but his political isolation may render him not a particularly significant threat to the Samy wing and especially his prodigies in the party. On that basis, some might be inclined to write him off. But others may not be so casual about it. And most importantly, if you were Samy, do you really want to take the chance and assume that Subra is politically a spent force? Imagine one possible scenario: If you’re Samy, can you afford to take the chance that Subra might ascend to the deputy presidency (again)? Ultimately, don’t you think Samy must surely be troubled about what the return of Subra will mean especially for Vell Paari and for preserving his own so-called legacy?

Are you still with me? Good… let me continue then.

Let me turn now to the matter of Palanivel’s candidacy. Why, ask yourself now, would Samy’s blue-eyed boy, Sothinathan, be taking on Samy’s sitting deputy president of the party? As we know, Samyland has become entrenched by Samy’s patsies. Tradition has it that it would be political suicide for anyone to attempt to challenge the sitting leadership; in this case, a sitting deputy president who was also a confidant and had loyally served under Samy. And then along comes Sothinathan – who happens to be a true and longstanding favourite of Samy – to do exactly what would typically amount to, as I said, political suicide.

Smelling something fishy yet?

I suspect that Samy is in a bit of an awkward position when it comes to Palanivel.
Notice that Samy has given only lukewarm endorsement of his sitting deputy; in no small part, by the way, due to the fallout from MIC’s disastrous showing in the last election and its continued drastic decline. If you were a thinking man, perhaps you might also be wondering that for Samy, sticking with Palanivel - as compared to his right-hand man Sothinathan - might be too risky of a gamble, especially in light of the MIC’s declining fortunes and, as of late, the not so chummy relationship between Samy and Palanivel. This itself would be good reason for Samy to prefer Sothinathan rather than Palanivel. But the latter, as a sitting deputy makes the scenario awkward for Samy, to say the least.

Let’s put it this way: I doubt if there are many MIC insiders who believe that Samy would prefer either Palanivel or Subra over Sothinathan to creep closer to the hot seat. Perhaps you’re wondering, but what about Sothinathan’s…shall we say… controversial past; especially surrounding the millions of Telekom shares allocated to MAIKA to help up-lift the poor only to vanish into a financial black-hole. Consider for a moment, that rather than this episode being a strike against him, might it in fact be another critical incentive to support Sothinathan and to ensure that those with lots at stake about this matter close ranks with him.

Finally, let me pose the following to you: Do you think Palanivel and Subra really think that Sothinathan has thrown his hat in the ring without Samy’s tacit blessing? I would not blame Palanivel or Subra if either of them is feeling like they’ve got a big bulls-eye target on their backs and Sothinathan is the magic bullet.

Imagine…taking out two political targets with one magic bullet. Now picture for yourself the man whose finger is on the trigger of this political revolver.

G. Krishnan