By Baradan Kuppusamy
Kuala Kubu Baru, April 17 — Former Hulu Selangor incumbent and MIC Deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel, who made an appearance at the nomination centre today, said the onus is on Umno to convince the voters to vote for Barisan Nasional (BN) in the Hulu Selangor by-election.
He said the MIC, which has been rocked by the BN decision to drop him in favour of P. Kamalanathan, will help to campaign but the real job is for Umno because Hulu Selangor is a Malay majority seat.
He added MIC members in Hulu Selangor will come out to vote for BN.
“There is no doubt about this. They are disappointed but they will support Barisan. MIC members will only support Barisan and no one else,” he told The Malaysian Insider when met outside the nomination centre here today.
“You don’t expect them to vote opposition…do you,” he said.
Significantly there were few Hulu Selangor MIC members present at the nomination centre and the MIC members present were ferried from nearby Perak and other parts of Selangor to make up the numbers.
A smattering of IPF and Makkal Sakthi members were also present amid speculation that the Hulu Selangor MIC, which has 75 branches, is unhappy with the change of candidate and uncooperative.
However key supporters of Palanivel who are also diehard BN supporters were present at the nomination centre.
The by-election is a four way contest between Kamalanathan and PKR’s Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and two independents.
V.S. Chandran, the former Hulu Selangor MIC deputy division chief is contesting because, according to him, he wants to teach MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu a lesson.
Asked about his political future, Palanivel said his future is subject to “democratic choices” of the MIC and the Indian community.
“I submit to their will,” he said.
He also said he was relieved he is not in the contest in this tough battle which can go either way.
“I am relieved. If I fought and lost it would be two straight losses for me since 2008. That would be a political disaster,” he said.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is already capitalising on the furore in the MIC over the candidate choice with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim raising the issue at a ceramah in Air Panas last night.
He urged voters to reject MIC/BN because MIC cannot even decide who it wants to field.
“How can such a party defend your interest,” Anwar said.
PR leaders are expected to play on the “hurt” feeling of some 7,000 MIC members in the constituency to gain a clear advantage.