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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Palanivel’s head in the lion’s jaws?


The president's plan to contest in a 'safe' seat may have backfired. The seat is now proving to be a tought bet for BN.
PETALING JAYA: There is a Tamil proverb, which says one escapes the jaws of a crocodile but ends up in the jaws of a lion.
Taking the current political situation, the above mentioned proverb can be an apt description for MIC president G Palanivel with regard to his bid to capture the Cameron Highlands parliament seat.
Palanivel who opted for Cameron Highlands thinking it was a safe seat, is now faced with a tough fight.
“It was supposed to be a safe seat. But, with the emergence of Palanivel there, the situation is far worse compared to the 2008 polls,” said a MIC source on condition of anonymity.
“There is no guarantee MIC will retain the seat,” he added.
According to the source, internal sabotage is one of the main factors which could lead to Palanivel’s defeat in the hands of DAP’s M Manogaran in the five-way tussle.
The party insider also said that the locals are disappointed with BN’s decision to field Palanivel, who was rejected from contesting in his old constituency Hulu Selangor during a 2010 by-election.
Palanivel had been defeated in Hulu Selangor during the 2008 polls. But when the by-election came about, he was not picked as Najib did not consider him a winnable candidate.
BN chose to field Putera MIC coordinator P Kamalanathan instead, who won the seat.
Since then Palanivel made several trips to Cameron Highlands without the knowledge of incumbent MP SK Devamany, who is also MIC vice-president, to ensure his candidacy for the parliament seat.
Devamany, much to his chagrin, had been moved to the Sungai Siput parliament seat.

Other contenders may split votes
Palanivel’s major contender for the seat would be Manogaran, who is the former Teluk Intan MP.
Others in the race are Berjasa’s Mohd Shokri Mahmood and two independent candidates, K Kisho Kumar and T Alagu.
“Although considered a BN stronghold, the multi-cornered fight may prove to be a challenge to Palanivel who has a bad track record in Hulu Selangor,” said the MIC source.
Cameron Highlands, which is the second smallest parliament constituency after Putrajaya comprises 28,043 voters. Malays form 34.2%, Chinese 32.3%, Orang Asli and Indians with 20.7% and 12.5% respectively.
“Since the Chinese are with Pakatan Rakyat, the Indians too may follow suit. Hence, Palanivel is now relying on the Malay and Orang Asli voters,” said the source.
However, he pointed out that the presence of independent and Berjasa candidates puts Palanivel in a tight spot.
The source said Alagu, who is also a MIC branch chairman, has strong ties with the Orang Asli in the constituency.
“Alagu has a strong network with the Orang Asli which will definitely be a headache for Palanivel and if the independent splits the Orang Asli votes, Palanivel will be in danger,” he added.
Furthermore, the Berjasa candidate might cause a swing in terms of Malay votes.
In view of this, the source warned that Cameron Highlands could prove to be an upset for BN and at the same time deal a devastating blow to Palanivel’s political career.
Palanivel in a recent advertisement in the Tamil dailies, said that he had granted almost RM37.4 million in aid and assistance for the people of Cameron Highlands and neighbouring areas since 2011.
“And there are more waiting for you…trust me and vote for me,” he said in the advertisements.

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