Fifth Column

19th August 2001

Same book, but a better game

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My Dear Green Man,

I thought of writing to you when I heard that some people in your party are again talking about a 'government of national reconciliation' and wanting you to get together with Satellite.

You know, Green Man, ever since Satellite kicked out that Rauf chap and you tried to bring that motion of no-confidence there has been a lot of talk about when the government would fall but that has not happened yet, because Satellite is playing every trick in the book that JR wrote into- that Constitution of his.

Anyway, Green Man, what most people cannot understand is why you want to go along with this 'national reconciliation' business. One day, you are out on the streets launching a 'jana bala meheyuma' and Satellite tries to shoot you with rubber bullets and the next day your emissaries are negotiating with her about dividing cabinet portfolios!

Why, Green Man, aren't you the same party which is crying foul and saying that Satellite has been defeated in the war, has ruined the economy and has abused her power which is why you are trying to impeach her?

Then, at the same time some of your people- the descendents of Puran Appus and former Prime Ministers- are trying to negotiate a deal with her!

They argue that it is to save the country from the encroaching Tiger but Green Man, if Satellite is as half as bad as you say she is, how on earth can you sit in the same government with her?

Then remember Green Man, Satellite has shown in recent months that she can give JR a good run for his money when it comes to working out strategy. She is not only talking to you, she is talking to Vimal and Tilvyn too and those youngsters also seem to have swallowed the bait and fallen for Satellite's charming smile and the tasty cutlets and coffee at President's House.

Green Man, Satellite kicked out Rauf the moment he got too big for his boots; she doesn't tolerate any nonsense from even her own cabinet buddies. So, do you think she will enjoy sitting in the same cabinet with the likes of Ravi, Rajitha and the red-hot Vimal?

And can't you see what happens when she talks with you? You are all distracted and trying to divide portfolios and the premiership while your protest campaigns start to fall apart!

As I see it, Green Man all these talks with the greens and the reds are red herrings to buy time. Satellite, the good old strategist that she is, will return to Parliament next month, wriggle out of the no-confidence motion for a month or so by talking to you and then call fresh elections as soon as possible and then win it with a good majority-as As Bee says, 'hondin berinam narakin'.

So, take care, Green Man. If you have any hopes of governing the country you will have to make sure that the House cannot be dissolved when the lady tries to do so. And to ensure that you will have to first take care of AB.

After all, by now you should be knowing the Golden Rule of local politics for the last twenty-five years: whichever side AB is in, it loses!

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha.

PS- There are some sure signs that this is a good time to hold elections: Sanath (the cricketer, of course!) is winning his matches and now even the price of milk foods have been reduced. So, elections are around the corner- and I'll bet a damaged Sri Lankan Tri-star on that!

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