Thousands of Martin Singh supporters in B.C.'s South Asian community are being urged to rank front-runner Thomas Mulcair as their second choice for federal NDP leader.
As recently as Sunday, Singh vehemently denied he's working in concert with Mulcair.
Yet Singh's former western organizer, Sukh Johal, confirmed Monday that he's now working for Mulcair.
Johal told The Canadian Press he signed up 4,500 members from British Columbia's South Asian community for Singh. He ceased working for Singh on Feb. 18, the deadline for signing up new party members eligible to vote in the leadership contest.
Now, Johal said he's volunteering for Mulcair, urging the same people he recruited for Singh to mark Mulcair as their second choice on their preferential ballots.
What's more, he said he suspects Singh might openly deliver the same message to all his supporters in the next day or two.
First, British Columbia is a LONG way from Toronto, fair to say many will be voting with mail in/online ballots, rather than in person. Of course many will be voting live online as well, but the fact Singh is directing supporters to put Mulcair as second choice indicative of how many of his people will ultimately participate. Under the leadership rules, the "mail in" participate lists a preferential ballot, meaning once their candidate drops out, their second choice becomes THE choice, a very important dynamic. The fact that Singh is universally understood as an "also ran" means he, more than others, will most certainly be dropping out, should we have subsequent votes. That reality means these "thousands" of Singh supporters who are being encouraged to vote Mulcair could have a relatively large impact, a fact that seems to be escaping conventional wisdom so far.
If we have a scenario where three or four people look viable after the initial vote(no one foresees a first ballot victory), the second choice preference for these contender supporters is irrelevant, it hasn't engaged, it sits there waiting to have impact, if ever. However, for candidates like Singh and Ashton- who will be dropping out- those triggered second place preferences can have sizable impact, both in terms of true results as well as momentum, perceived "growing" capabilities for those left in the race. You may very well have a scenario where the second vote is deciding, and if not, brings a certain inevitability that influences other supporters moving forward. Martin Singh, if he is directing a loyal base, has the potential to play a deciding role in this race. I suspect Cullen's volley Singh's way yesterday was also an admission of the behind the scenes concerns, "also rans" get triggered, "contenders" stay dormant.
I will be attending the NDP convention as an accredited blogger. Much thanks to the NDP for allowing me to attend, it should be a fascinating couple of days that I'm really looking forward to. I'll be keeping my eye on many things in Toronto, one of them is the Martin Singh factor, given the rules and his apparent INTENTIONS, perhaps a larger player than raw numbers would otherwise suggest.