Ganesan, please, you are no where near the United States President.
SUNGAI PETANI, April 3 - He runs, tap rubber and wants to be the Malaysian‘Obama’.
Datuk S. Ganesan is doing all this and others to get votes and win the Bukit Selambau state seat for Barisan Nasional on April 7.
The former Lunas assemblyman is also projecting an ‘everyman’ image to overcome the perception that he is difficult to engage, if not downright rude at times.
Barisan Nasional is also concerned after Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Salleh was labelled a snob in the Kuala Terengganu by-election on Jan 17, which it lost.
Senior MIC officials in Kedah also told The Malaysian Insider that Ganesan has not been known to be popular with the locals prior to the campaign.
“He is aloof and some would say conceited because he is not shy to talk up his UK education,” said one leader.
But Ganesan has made a huge effort to address this perception across the first half of the campaign period so far by participating in activities common to the Bukit Selambau native.
Ganesan kicked off his campaign by going for a 6km jog around his neighbourhood and passing leaflets to passersby. “To be more energetic and enhance performance,” was his message, he told reporters after his 7am run.
Ganesan related to The Malaysian Insider that he is a member of a local Hash House Harriers chapter, a social club for recreational runners.
Not only that, he is an avid sportsman, naming badminton and football - lifting his trouser leg to show his injuries on his shin as proof — as his sports of choice.
“When you engage in the same activities as the rakyat, then you will know what is required and how to accommodate their needs. For example, others may not understand why you need such a nice field just to play football but to the players, it is a big difference,” he said just after cleaning out a drain in Kg Sebelas, Sungai Lalang.
Ganesan has also showed off his skills at tapping rubber. His own parents were rubber tappers and this move was designed to give locals some food for thought in terms of his grasp of local issues.
His rather creative campaign also includes a some interesting, if not completely credible soundbites.
He has vowed to cover at least 10km a day on foot. That has led to his claim that as of yesterday, he reached over 55 per cent of voters.He also wants to be the “Obama of Malaysia,” becoming the latest politician to ride on newly elected US president Barack Obama’s global appeal.
Whether or not these unorthodox strategies are his ideas or those of his handlers, he is certainly running an eye-catching campaign.
It positions himself as a man willing to pursue local issues. This will be crucial in grabbing the rural vote as the consensus is that the urban voters are lodged firmly with Pakatan Rakyat.