“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “what is all this fuss about fuel prices?”
“Why, who is fussing about fuel prices?” Bindu’s father Percy wanted to know.
“Why, thaaththa,” Bindu explained, “the greens have gone to courts asking that the petrol prices be reduced...”
“How can they do that?” Percy was surprised, “I thought fuel prices are determined by prices in the world market...”
“That is exactly what the greens themselves are saying...” Bindu said.
“Then, where is the problem?” Percy was puzzled.
“Why, thaaththa,” Bindu pointed out, “the price of fuel in the world market has fallen but Uncle Fowzie is not reducing the price for us...”
“And why is that?” Percy wanted to know.
“Well,” Bindu said, “ he says that when the prices were high in the world market, he sold fuel at a loss, so now he has to recover his losses...”
“That seems a reasonable argument to me...” Percy observed.
“But thaaththa,” Bindu asked, “won’t selling fuel at a higher price when prices in the world market are falling make the government enormously unpopular?”
“That may be so...” Percy agreed, “but I guess the government is confident about what it is doing...”
“What is the government confident about, thaaththa?” Bindu queried.
“I am sure the government is confident that it can get away with selling fuel at higher prices, just as much as it is confident it can get away with so many other issues...” Percy suggested.
“What are these other issues, thaaththa?” Bindu inquired.
“Why, Bindu it is confident it can get away with all of Uncle Mervyn’s antics despite almost the entire country demanding his removal from office...” Percy pointed out.
“I suppose that is true,” Bindu agreed, “anyone else would have been shown the door already...”
“Then, the government is confident enough to retain Uncle PB’s services even though he has been found guilty and fined by the courts of law...” Percy declared.
“But didn’t he resign, thaaththa?” Bindu recalled.
“Yes,” Percy said, “but then he was appointed an advisor, so I am sure his advice must be indispensable...”
“What else is the government confident of, thaaththa?” Bindu asked.
“Why, I am sure the government will soon be confident enough to hold elections in the remaining provincial councils as well...” Percy suggested.
“And if they do, it is quite likely that they will win those elections also...” Bindu said.
“And anyway, the government is confident enough to maintain a cabinet of over a hundred ministers even when the cost of living is rising everyday and people are blaming the government for that...” Percy pointed out.
“I suppose that is so,” Bindu conceded.
“Then,” Percy observed, “it is also confident enough to operate a second airline at tremendous cost at a time when even running the first airline has become difficult...”
“So, thaaththa,” Bindu wondered, “why do you think the government is so confident enough to believe that it can get away with all these issues without ever losing its popularity?”
“I think they must be having a very good reason for being so confident, Bindu...” Percy said.
“And what reason is that, thaaththa?” Bindu wanted to know, “is it because they say they are winning the war?”
“That may be one reason,” Percy said, “but I don’t think that is the only reason, Bindu...”
“What are the other reasons, then?” Bindu asked, “is it because elections are not due for at least another two years?”
“That is also possible,” Percy said, “but there must be some other reason too...”
“And what is that reason?” Bindu demanded.
“Why, Bindu, who wouldn’t be confident when the Green Man has been successful in resisting yet another attempt to oust him as the leader of the Greens?” Percy asked.
Bindu didn’t know how to answer that question.