KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 — MIC president Tan Sri S. Vigneswaran was conspicuously absent from the start of the Barisan Nasional event to introduce its 15th general election candidates tonight.
With the event already on the way, Vigneswaran’s seat next to BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi remained vacant, fuelling rumours that the component party was considering a complete withdrawal from GE15.
Earlier, reports emerged that Vigneswaran has convened an emergency meeting of the MIC leadership tomorrow, ostensibly to discuss the party’s participation in the poll.
The party’s sole elected federal lawmaker, incumbent human resources minister Datuk M. Saravanan, was also absent from the BN event, and was neither seen nor introduced as part of the notable leaders.
In 2018, Saravanan successfully defended his Tapah federal seat, becoming the party’s only surviving MP in the general election that witnessed BN losing for the first time in the country’s history.
While not members of the former ruling coalition, the Indian-based Makkal Sakthi sent representatives to the unveiling at the World Trade Centre here tonight.
Despite Vigneswaran and Saravanan’s absence tonight, however, both men were still nominated to represent BN in the general election.
Zahid announced that Saravanan would defend his Tapah seat while Vigneswaran would be the candidate for Sungai Siput, the former constituency of MIC icon, the late Tun Samy Vellu, who died in September.
It is understood that the intentional snub tonight was to signal MIC’s anger over not getting the number of seats it wanted for the general election.
Previously, Vigneswaran said MIC intended to contest at least nine federal seats including Sungai Siput and Tapah.