Columns - 5thcolumn

Eat more grass and turn green before the next election!
By Rypvanwinkle

“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “what is all this fuss about the election?”
“I thought the election was over now...” Bindu’s father Percy said.
“Yes, it is,” Bindu agreed, “but different parties are making different statements about the election, thaaththa...”

“Why is that?” Percy asked, “I thought the result was a very convincing win for the Blues...”
“Yes, it was,” Bindu conceded, “but one third of the voters didn’t vote, thaaththa...”
“Well, that is easy to understand...” Percy said.
“Why do you say that, thaaththa?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Why,” Percy said, “remember what the Commissioner of Elections said just before the elections?”
“What was that?” Bindu asked.

“Why, he asked voters not to vote for thieves, criminals and other corrupt candidates...” Percy recalled.
“But thaaththa,” Bindu protested, “that doesn’t mean he didn’t want people to vote; he only asked them not to vote for certain people...”
“Yes,” Percy agreed, “but apparently one third of the voters thought that if they didn’t vote for a thief, criminal or a corrupt candidate, there would be no one to vote for after all, so they kept away...”
“I suppose that is one way of looking at it...” Bindu said.

“But of course,” Percy said, “it doesn’t alter the fact that the Blues have won quite convincingly...”
“But thaaththa,” Bindu remembered, “the Greens are saying something else...”
“And what is that?” Percy inquired.
“Why, they are saying that since one third of the voters didn’t vote, the Blues have only got sixty per cent of the balance sixty five percent which is less than forty per cent and therefore doesn’t amount to a majority or a mandate...” Bindu said.

“If you use the same argument, then the Greens have got only 30 per cent of the balance sixty per cent which is less than even twenty per cent...” Percy calculated.
“That is true...” Bindu agreed.
“And,” Percy warned, “if the Greens really believe that they didn’t lose the election then they will keep on losing election after election...”

“And that is what they are doing now...” Bindu pointed out.
“And it will be the same for the Reds too...” Percy suggested.
“Why do you say that, thaaththa?” Bindu queried.
“Why, Bindu,” Percy explained, “what the Reds don’t seem to realise is that they won nearly forty seats at the last general election because they contested with the Blue party...”
“I suppose that is so...” Bindu said.

“Now, left to themselves, they get less than three per cent of the vote and a couple of candidates elected...” Percy declared.
“So, thaaththa,” Bindu asked, “what do you think will happen at the next election?”
“And what election would that be?” Percy demanded.
“Why, thaaththa” Bindu said, “they have already announced that they will hold elections for the Uva and Southern provincial council within the next few months...”

“Well,” Percy said, “I suppose the strategy of ‘win a war and win an election’ is working for the Blues...”
“So,” Bindu asked, “what will happen at those elections, thaaththa?”
“It will be more of the same,” Percy observed, “unless our eating habits change drastically...”
“What has that got to do with our eating habits, thaaththa?” Bindu was puzzled.
“Why,” Percy recalled, “our Health Minister Nimal has said that seventy percent of the people eat rice and that thirty per cent of the people eat grass...”
“How can he say that?” Bindu asked.

“I suppose he was referring to the percentages polled by the Blue and Green parties,” Percy said, “and he should know, because he is the Minister of Nutrition as well...”
“Then,” Bindu asked, “what do you think he eats, thaaththa?”
“Well,” Percy said, “with Rubella vaccines killing children, dengue on the rise and doctors on strike every now and again, I think we can all guess what he eats...”
Bindu didn’t quite know what to say to that.

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