Columns - 5thcolumn

Hail the conquering hero! But it’s not over till it’s over!
By Rypvanwinkle

“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “what is all this talk about a cabinet reshuffle?”
“Why, Bindu,” Bindu’s father Percy was surprised, “who is thinking of a Cabinet reshuffle now?”
“Why, thaaththa,” Bindu explained, “there were some changes in the ministries last week...”
“Ah,” Percy said, “that was only because Uncle Karu has gone back to the Green camp and someone was needed to fill his vacancy...”
“So,” Bindu asked, “is that why Mahinda maama made those changes?”
“Yes, Bindu,” Percy assured.
“But thaaththa,” Bindu said, “he has also taken the media ministry under himself as if he doesn’t have enough work already...”
“Well,” Percy said, “it maybe that he doesn’t trust anyone else with that job...”
“That is possible...” Bindu agreed.
“Or,” Percy proposed, “he doesn’t want to make a full reshuffle of the cabinet...”
“What makes you think that?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Why, Bindu,” Percy recalled, “remember what the courts told him to do?”
“What was that?” Bindu inquired.
“Why, they asked Mahinda maama to entrust Uncle Fowzie’s job to someone else...”
“Well,” Bindu asked, “What about that?”
“If he really wanted a cabinet reshuffle,” Percy explained, “he could have done that too at the same time but he didn’t...”
“So, why do you think he doesn’t want a cabinet reshuffle right now?” Bindu demanded.
“It may be that elections are around the corner...” Percy suggested.
“Well,” Bindu asked, “provincial council elections are due in a short while, aren’t they?”
“No, Bindu,” Percy said, “it maybe that general elections are around the corner...”
“But why do you think Mahinda maama will want a general election so soon?” Bindu asked, “after all, he doesn’t have to call for an election until next year...”
“That is true,” Percy agreed, “but it does look like an election is on the cards soon...”
“Why do you say that, thaaththa?”Bindu wanted to know.
“Why, Bindu,” Percy explained, “remember the mini-budget last week where Mahinda maama reduced the price of fuel just before the new year and announced that bus fares will also be brought down...”
“Well,” Bindu said, “I thought he was just trying to follow the court order he got some weeks ago with which he would have had to comply anyway....”
“I don’t think so,” Percy said, “besides, he hasn’t still reduced the price of petrol by the amount the court asked him to...”
“So, thaaththa,” Bindu asked, “you think it is all an election gimmick?”
“I don’t know whether it is a gimmick or not,” Percy said, “but there is another good reason why there could be a sudden election now...”
“And what reason is that?”Bindu wondered.
“Why, Bindu,” Percy said, “Kilinochchi has been liberated...”
“But thaaththa,” Bindu was puzzled, “I m not sure whether they are trying to stop the war now...”
“Why, Bindu,” Percy was surprised, “why would they want to stop the war now when they have captured Kilinochchi?”
“Why, thaaththa,” Bindu tried to explain, “that is what they themselves said...”
“When did they say that?” Percy was puzzled.
“Why, thaaththa,” Bindu recalled, “remember when the courts wanted the fuel prices reduced...”
“Yes,” Percy said, “what about that?”
“Why, thaaththa,” Bindu said, “that was when they accused those who wanted the prices lowered of being conspirators trying to stop the war. They said they were trying to reduce the income to the government from taxes...”
“Well,” Percy conceded, “they did say something like that...”
“And they even claimed that some of those calling for a price reduction in fuel were acting on behalf of the Tigers...” Bindu remembered.
“Yes,” Percy agreed, “they did say that...”
“Well,” Bindu pointed out, “now, they themselves are trying to reduce prices of petrol, so maybe they themselves want to reduce income from taxes for the government because they want to stop the war...”
Percy didn’t quite know what to say to that.

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