KUALA LUMPUR: MIC central working committee (CWC) member S Vell Paari has accused Umno of using a "political assassin" to cause disruption in the component party.
Vell Paari, who is the son of MIC president S Samy Vellu, was responding to the "Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu" campaign, which is rumoured to have the blessings of Umno's top leaders.
[Today's other MIC development: Two more Samy critics axed]
The campaign was unveiled by sacked MIC Youth deputy chief V Mugilan on Saturday while the official launch has been slated for May 30.
Speaking to FMT, Vell Paari did not mince his words when he lashed out at Umno for setting a dangerous precedent.
"It is dangerous when outsiders get involved. Forget the fact that my father is the MIC president and just look at the issue from the perspective of democracy. He was democratically elected by the branch chairmen.
"So whenever there is a leader who does not see eye-to-eye with the powers that be, will they hire political assassins to bring him down?" he asked.
"When you are unhappy, you use people within the party to do things like this. It shakes the fundamentals of democracy, the Barisan Nasional spirit as well as the party members' decision on who is to be their leader," he added.
'Umno drives the BN bus'
Citing the 2008 general election, Vell Paari questioned if the Indian and Chinese communities voted against BN because of the leadership of MIC or MCA.
"It had nothing to do with the leadership of these two parties. It is the inequality we have today, that was the straw which broke the camel's back," he said.
"BN component parties are only passengers on a bus. The bus is driven by Umno," he added, indicating that it is Umno's actions and policies which were the root cause of the problem.
In the last general election, Vell Paari pointed out that among the major reasons that led to BN losing Indian votes were the demolition of temples, the revocation of licences for scrap metal dealers and the incarceration of Hindraf leaders.
"Did my father do all these? But now they are turning around and blaming him. The propaganda (by Umno) is designed in such a way so as to divert attention from the real issue," he said.
In view of this, he urged all MIC members and the Indian community to "open their eyes and see what is happening as a dangerous situation is taking shape".
If left unchecked, Vell Paari warned that in future, the leadership of component parties will be nothing more than an Umno "menu card", which states who should be president, deputy president and so forth.
"We might have differences within the Indian community, with the likes of IPF and Makkal Sakti but that is okay; we can sort it out among ourselves. But to groom a political assassin to intervene, this is very dangerous," he said, referring to Mugilan who is known to have close ties with Umno leaders.
'Subra - guilty by impression'
As for former MIC deputy president S Subramaniam's threat to take legal action against Vell Paari for linking him to the anti-Samy Vellu campaign, the CWC member said he is not perturbed by this.
"This is nothing new; he has sued me before and we have a case pending in court. But my contention is simple, why is it that whenever something like this happens, his supporters are always at the forefront?" he asked.
Saying that Subramaniam is "guilty by impression", Vell Paari likened the veteran politician's denial to a cow which claims no responsibility for the milk and blames the milkman instead.
"If I made a wrong assumption, then I am prepared to apologise. But he must explain why his supporters are there (backing the campaign)," he said.
However, Vell Paari urged Subramaniam to set aside his political differences with Samy Vellu and focus on the external threat.
"Both my father and him have contributed to the development of the party. Is he prepared to let outside forces break up MIC?
"You can pass opinions, but collaborating with outside forces to bring about disruption in the party is a dangerous thing. What your supporters do on the ground reflects on you," he said.
Confirmed: Palanivel will take over
Meanwhile, Vell Paari also dismissed speculation that current deputy president G Palanivel will not be taking over the reins when his father steps down next year.
"Let me tell you: the tranisition of power will be smooth and Palanivel is taking over. If my father steps down in September, Palanivel will become the acting president.
"He wanted to pass the post to Palanivel after the last general election, but MIC leaders had asked him to stay on and help rebuild the party," he said.
Vell Paari revealed that Samy Vellu had told top leaders such as vice-presidents Dr S Subramaniam and M Saravanan recently that "this is the date I am leaving and Palanivel is taking over".
The MIC president, he said, also conveyed the same message to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
"My father told the prime minister that he is stepping down in September or October next year and this will give Palanivel enough time to strengthen himself for the (MIC) presidential elections.
"During his meeting with DPM (Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin) in Parliament on April 14, my father made it clear that he was willing to quit immediately if that will persuade Umno to allow Palanivel to contest in Hulu Selangor.
"But they (Umno leaders) said 'No, this is not what we want from you'," he added.
Asked why Umno is now allegedly using the services of a political assassin to oust his father, Vell Paari replied: "To be honest, I am confused myself."
"Unless they are being fed with wrong information from certain people or perhaps it is the 'little Napoleons' and not the top leadership in Umno which is pushing for this," he said.
"But one thing is certain. In their haste to get rid of my father, they have only strengthened him further and this new development has caused much anger in MIC.
"I am getting tonnes of phone calls from MIC members and leaders asking me, 'Who are they to do this?'" he said.