Home English News MIC : Sothinathan’s peace plans derailed?

MIC : Sothinathan’s peace plans derailed?

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Kuala Lumpur – Datuk S.Sothinathan, a key figure in the so called “Palanivel’s faction” aligned to former MIC President Datuk Seri G.Palanivel, is said to be facing an uphill task in convincing his faction’s leaders to accept a peace-formula to return to MIC.

It all began at a secret closed door meeting attended by 10 key leaders from Palanivel’s faction several weeks ago, wherein it was decided that a mandate be given to Sothinathan to initiate peace talks with MIC President Datuk Seri S.Subramaniam to work out a formula to bring back MIC branches and leaders still outside the party.

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At the closed door meeting, it is believed Sothinathan insisted he will be the only person who will discuss with Dr Subra and other leaders reluctantly agreed. However, later Sothinathan became upset when the very leaders who gave him the go-ahead for the peace talks, began making open press statements stating that there were no such talks with Dr Subra.

Dr-S-SubramaniamThis prompted Sothinathan to declare on 13 August at a meeting with MIC branches aligned with Palanivel’s faction held in Taiping, Perak, that he has initiated peace talks with Dr Subra with the approval of his faction’s leaders. At that meeting Sothinathan stressed that it is futile for Palanivel faction to pursue political battles outside MIC and the best option is to return to the party to continue their political journey.

Subsequently, another closed door meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur on the 19th of August to thrash out issues. Palanivel did not attend all these closed door meetings.

Leaders unhappy with Sothinathan’s ‘go-alone’ attitude

However, sources close to Palanivel faction said by the time the second closed door meeting took place, other leaders became unhappy with Sothinathan, when he refused to disclose details of the negotiations on his peace plans.

“For the last two years we have sacrificed lot of time, energy and money to keep the fight against Subra’s camp and now Sothi comes and says he has embarked on talks with Subra but cannot reveal details. He doesn’t want to be transparent and insists on doing it alone all by himself. He doesn’t want to include a delegation to meet Subra. This we cannot accept and many of us feel there is an hidden agenda” said one leader aligned to Palanivel’s faction.

PalanivelSeveral leaders within Palanivel’s faction believe Sothinathan’s peace plan is self-serving and designed to return to the party to stake a claim for the Deputy Presidency of the party at the next party elections and to contest in Teluk Kemang (Negri Sembilan) parliamentary seat at the forthcoming GE-14.

While details of Sothinathan’s peace plan were yet to be released, MIC HQ announced there will be another exercise to allow branches outside the party to return by paying their respective subscription quotas from September 1st.

This also prompted other leaders from Palanivel’s faction to question Sothinathan, whether such an exercise is being done as part of Sothi’s peace plans or it is an independent exercise by the party.

Split inevitable within Palanivel’s faction

Due to such misunderstandings Palanivel faction is now split right in the middle with one faction aligned to Sothinathan sticking with him to conclude the talks with Subra so that they can return to MIC as soon as possible. Whereas another faction has crystallised against Sothinathan insisting that the peace talks should be conducted by a delegation and that the details should be made transparent.

Sources said, feeling insecure with Sothinathan’s moves, the group against him has now initiated their own peace talks with their friendly parties in the MIC’s hierarchy.

This has created two camps within Palanivel’s faction trying to forge a merger plan with MIC’s leadership, one initiated by Sothinathan  and another by a group of leaders acting as a team against Sothinathan. Both groups are said to be having different demands and agendas.

G PALANIVEL / SEPETANG BERSAMA PRESIDEN MIC

“Only Sothinathan has the strength”

A source close to Sothinathan said : “Within Palanivel’s faction today, it is only Sothi who has the command and support among branch chairmen. Therefore, it is only fair that Sothi be given the freedom and mandate to strike a deal with Subra. Taking a delegation will only make it worse with conflicting demands. The real issue is some leaders do not want Sothi to steal the show by striking a deal with Subra. These people are further influenced by some MIC leaders who are unhappy about Sothinathan’s return to the party as they feel it will threaten their future prospects. MIC’s leadership and the Barisan Nasional are only interested in brokering a deal with Palanivel’s faction if Sothinathan is heading it. Even if Sothi goes alone, at least 50% of the faction’s branch leaders will follow him. That is the truth”

However, an adversary of Sothinathan within Palanivel’s faction has a different view. “Sothi’s problem is that he is not following a consultative approach in dealing with the current issues, and arrogantly displays authoritarian approach without even disclosing details of his discussion with Subra. He thinks he can a make an impact in MIC even if he returns to the party alone. If his peace plans do not contain our demands we will not follow him and he will miserably fail if he thinks he can do it all by himself. The majority of branches will desert him. We have already opened our own friendly channels within MIC’s hierarchy to negotiate our own terms to return to the party”, the adversary pointed out.

It looks like a social media war has also been launched against Sothinathan reputedly by forces out to derail his peace-talks with MIC’s leadership. (See picture below)

sothinathan-whats app circulated

It is also believed that as a result of all these developments Sothinathan has begun talking to branch leaders and other key leaders individually urging them to follow him when he decides to return to the party. Sources said this only goes to show Sothinathan’s desperateness and his loss of faith in dealing with Palanivel’s faction as a team.

Although the split within Palanivel’s faction is so glaring and seems inevitable, one thing is certain.

Majority of them wants to return to MIC with some respect and dignity as they believe forming a new party or joining another party will only dilute their existing political clout. The prevailing situation of national politics is also not conducive for another new Indian-based political party. Many of them also do not have confidence the pending court cases against RoS will be decided in their favour.

The question now is whether Palanivel’s faction will have the patience to wait until September 30th – a dateline set by them for Sothinathan to conclude his talks with Dr Subra!

-R.Mutharasan