SMS poll sparks row between Malaysian Indian politicians
The poll, that ends four days before elections, will decide the most popular candidate for the Malaysian Indian Congress deputy presidentship.india Updated: Apr 13, 2006 14:49 IST
Generation Next's preferred mode of communication, is at the heart of a controversy within Malaysia's leading Indian political party.
Samy Vellu, Malaysia's works minister and president of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), has ridiculed a bid to gauge the support for S Subramaniam for the party deputy president's post through an independent SMS poll.
"Only those who have not gained popularity through their services and dedication to the people would seek shortcut popularity via SMS," Vellu said.
Subramaniam, 62 and the deputy president, is seen as the favourite for the number two post in the party. His nearest rival is G Palanivel, the country's deputy minister for women, family and community development and Vellu's favourite for the post.
The poll currently shows Subramaniam leading over Palanivel.
MIC, the leading party representing the Indian community in Malaysia, is holding party elections June 24. Indians comprise seven percent of Malaysia's population of over 24 million.
The ongoing poll, being conducted by the Malaysian Public Service Association and the ethnic Nayagan magazine, is titled - 'Who is the favourable candidate for the post of MIC deputy president?' It will run till June 20, four days before the scheduled election.
According to media reports, both Subramaniam and Palanivel have distanced themselves from the popularity poll.
"I cannot comment on the SMS campaign. This is normally done for artistes but now it has come into politics," Subramaniam said.
On his part, Palanivel said that he was not taking part in a popularity contest but in a serious contest, 'where questions of leadership, commitment, consistency and ability to deliver will be tested'.
"I am not a popular idol. The MIC leaders will be elected by delegates at the assembly," he said.
Vellu and Subramaniam have not been in the best of terms ever since the former defeated the latter to the party president's post in 1981, a post the 70-year-old Vellu has retained till date.
Only last month, he was elected unopposed to the post for the 10th consecutive time. Subramaniam has been holding the deputy president's post since 1980.
Relations between the two worsened when Subramaniam was dropped from his parliamentary seat in the last general elections.