Working towards the slogan of an Aluth Sri Lankaavak
"Thaaththa", Bindu Udagedera asked, "who is our President?"
"Why, it is Mahinda maama of course..." Bindu's father Percy said, somewhat puzzled.
"No, it is just that sometimes I have my doubts..." Bindu said.
"Why, Bindu," Percy asked, "why do you doubt that?"
"Sometimes, I feel JR is our President..." Bindu explained.
"Surely, Bindu," Percy reminded him, "JR ruled for twelve long years and passed away over ten years ago..."
"But, thaaththa," Bindu declared, "lately it just seems as if he is still our President..."
"How could you say that?" Percy asked, "the only similarity that I can see between JR and Mahinda maama is that they both prefer the white national dress, but even then Mahinda maama wears the 'saatakaya' which JR didn't wear..."
"That may be true..." Bindu conceded.
"And," Percy pointed out, "Mahinda maama is busy de-merging the North and East which JR joined nearly twenty years ago..."
"All that is true," Bindu agreed, "but look around you, thaaththa and see what is happening..."
"Why, what are you so worried about?" Percy wanted to know.
"Well, to begin with JR got rid of one lady and never gave her a chance of making a real comeback while he was in power," Bindu said, "and Mahinda maama has got rid of another lady and seems even more determined not to allow her to stage any kind of comeback..."
"That maybe so," Percy said, "but all that is part and parcel of politics, Bindu..."
"JR had his brother HW by his side for advice," Bindu pointed out, "and Mahinda maama has three of his to turn to as advisors, secretaries and ministers..."
"That may also be just a co-incidence, Bindu..." Percy said.
"Then, thaaththa, remember how JR shrewdly split the SLFP which was then in the opposition into two factions..." Bindu recalled.
"He succeeded in that," Percy remembered, "but what has Mahinda maama done?"
"Why, thaaththa, in a few more days more than a dozen UNPers will join the SLFP and then Mahinda maama would have succeeded in splitting the present opposition, the UNP, right in to two..." Bindu said.
"But surely," Percy said, "that isn't enough to compare Mahinda maama with JR..."
"That is not all, thaaththa," Bindu argued, "remember how JR couldn't tolerate strikers and dismissed thousands of them in July 1980..."
"Mahinda maama has done nothing of that sort yet..." Percy protested.
"Yes, thaaththa," Bindu said, "but already strikers and protestors are being brutally assaulted, so he might well be following JR's footsteps..."
"What else has Mahinda maama done for him to be compared to JR, then?" Percy queried.
"Well," Bindu asked, "JR named the country's capital city after him, didn't he?"
"But Mahinda maama hasn't named a city after him..." Percy argued.
"Of course not," Bindu declared, "but he is having an airline named after him..."
"So, you think Mahinda maama is really following in JR's footsteps?" Percy asked.
"My worry is that Mahinda maama is doing all this in his first year in office and with little or no opposition from anyone else; even JR did not have it that easy..." Bindu pointed out.
"We must give him the benefit of the doubt, Bindu," Percy suggested, "after all, he may just be working towards his slogan of an 'Aluth Sri Lankaavak'..."
"He is certainly working towards a slogan, thaaththa," Bindu said, "but it is not Aluth Sri Lankaavak'..."
"What do you think is his slogan, then?" Percy asked.
"I think it is 'Api Venuven Api'..." Bindu suggested.
Even Mahinda maama would agree with that, Percy thought.