MIC deputy president hopeful Datuk S. Sothinathan has burnt his bridges with party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

The former vice-president, who fell out of favour with the party supremo, said he did not need the latter's help in his bid for the No. 2 post.

"What is important is not the acceptance of one man but that of the thousands of members. The support of the majority should be the criterion, not just that of one man."

Sothinathan said he had been accepted by the grassroots "and that's what true leadership is all about".

He said Samy Vellu should not impose his personal wishes on delegates but should rather respect their wishes as to whom they wanted to represent them.

Sothinathan, a one-time Samy Vellu favourite whom many thought would go on to the top post in the party, got on the wrong side of the party chief when he ignored his advice not to contest the deputy president's post in party polls on Sept 12.

The contest will see a three-cornered fight between incumbent Datuk G. Palanivel, former deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam and Sothinathan.

Sothinathan denied that he was a "one-man show" and that he would go it alone after the elections and would not work with other leaders.

"Whoever wins will have to form a team and work together with others. That is the only way to preserve the party and avoid division."

On Samy Vellu's claims that he had vilified his opponents, Sothinathan said that was not his style.

"When I see delegates, I do not bother about whom they are aligned to.

"I tell them what I want to do, my aspirations and visions. I don't speak about any particular individual and I don't want to do that to rise in politics."

He said Samy Vellu should stay above the fight for the deputy presidency and let the three contenders thrash it out among themselves.

"After all, it is the contest for the deputy presidency. I don't know why he is taking it upon himself to get into the fray."

He reiterated that he was not planted by Samy Vellu to split Subramaniam's votes.

"No one can plant or buy me. I have my own independent path. These are campaigns from the opposite camp to confuse delegates."

Samy Vellu had said on Thursday that he was severing ties with Sothinathan and would not accept him back for going against his wishes in contesting for the No. 2 post.

But based on the past, it may only be a matter of time before Samy Vellu does take him back as he did with former Youth leader S.A. Vigneswaran and Negri Sembilan leader Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan.