It also represents a chance for MIC to show that it too is on its own trajectory of revival.
If Barisan loses the seat, then all has been in vain.
And Barisan will have to go back to the drawing board to map out new strategies to win back the doubting masses. As for MIC, well, it will be another nail in the coffin of the party.
As a matter of fact, the MIC almost ensured that the coffin lid was nailed shut when its party leader(s) quarrelled with the Umno top brass over the choice of candidate.
It is understood that the MIC leader(s) favoured G. Palanivel, the deputy president, who by the way had been the Hulu Selangor MP for many (perhaps too many) terms.
It is also understood that intelligence reports stated that Palanivel would lose should he be fielded. Word on the ground was that the voters, especially the Malays, preferred some other candidate who could be more visible and responsive to their woes.
Hence the so-called 'compromise' choice of P Kamalanathan, the party's information chief, as the candidate.
Though he is the 'compromise' choice, he could turn out to be Barisan's trump card as it is said his PR skills are good which will ensure good handling of the media and also delivering of service to the people. His command of Bahasa Malaysia is also reported to be strong, which should go down well with the majority Malay voters who could ultimately decide which way the seat goes.
Over at the Pakatan Rakyat camp, its candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is the victim of a smear campaign with his rival digging up dirt like the fact that he used to enjoy a drink or two (of booze) but this could backfire if the Malay voters accept his admission of guilt and believe that he has repented.
If he does not talk down to the voters in Hulu Selangor, it could mean winning more votes.
However, the reality is that Hulu Selangor has been a Barisan stronghold and if one were to interpret the results of the March 8 2008 elections as an aberration, then it should still be a Barisan stronghold, at least in theory. Bear in mind that in the 2008 general election, Pakatan's (the late) Dr Zainal Abidin polled 23,177 votes, defeating BN's Datuk G. Palanivel with a slim 198-vote majority.
It suggests that even in a general election which saw a 'tsunami' swing to the Opposition resulting in the worst-ever performance by Barisan, Pakatan won Hulu Selangor by a very slim margin.
And the three state seats within the Hulu Selangor Parliamentary constituency were won quite convincingly by Barisan.
Looks like it would need more than ceramahs by the charismatic Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for Pakatan to retain the seat.