Columns - 5th column

Elections! Oh, they enliven people’s dull lives
By Rypvanwinkle

“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “what is all this fuss about the election?”
“Why, Bindu,” Bindu’s father Percy said, “the election will be held in January, so there is no reason to worry about that...”
“But, thaaththa,” Bindu pointed out, “there seems to be many unkind statements about the candidates...”
“Why,” Percy asked, “what is everybody saying?”
“Why, thaaththa,” Bindu declared, “those in the Blue camp are saying unkind things about the General...”
“Why, what are they saying?” Percy queried.
“They are saying no General has ever contested an election against his own Commander-in-Chief...” Bindu recalled.
“Well, that may be true,” Percy said, “because although Generals have contested elections in other countries, I don’t think they ran against their own Commander-in-Chief...”
“Then,” Bindu said, “they also say the General alone cannot take the credit for winning the war...”
“I suppose that is true too,” Percy agreed, “although we must also remember that when the General told us the war will be over in two years and that he will not leave that task to the next Commander of the Army, very few of us believed him...”“Yes, thaaththa,” Bindu said, “but those in the Blue camp say the General was only able to do so because of Mahinda maama’s decision to give him a free hand in ending the war...”
“But, Bindu” Percy said, “In response to all this, I suppose those in the General’s camp are saying unkind things about Mahinda maama as well...”
“Yes, they are...” Bindu remembered.
“So,” Percy inquired, “what are those in the General’s camp saying?”
“To begin with, they are complaining that the General was not treated properly after he won the war for Mahinda maama...” Bindu explained.
“Why are they saying that?” Percy wanted to know.
“Well,” Bindu said, “they are saying he was given a kick upstairs from the Army...”
“But, Bindu” Percy wondered, “wasn’t that supposed to be a promotion?”
“I suppose it was,” Bindu said, “but there are other complaints as well...”
“And what are those complaints?” Percy asked.
“Well, they say the General’s security was reduced overnight when it was announced that he would contest the election and that now even those junior to him get more security than the General...” Bindu declared.
“I suppose one could argue the General is now a retired officer while the others are still in the Army...” Percy proposed.
“But, thaaththa,” Bindu protested, “that doesn’t sound nice and besides, they say the General was even asked to leave his quarters suddenly...”
“Others could still say that since he is now retired, he should leave...” Percy pointed out.
“But thaaththa,” Bindu said, “the General’s camp is also protesting that suddenly he has become a traitor while people like Karuna who he fought against have become heroes and patriots...”
“Well,” Percy said, “that of course is somewhat questionable...”
“So, thaaththa,” Bindu queried, “who will you vote for now?”
“Since there is some more time for the election, we will have to wait and see...” Percy said.
“Why is that, thaaththa?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Well, I am sure there will be accusations and counter-accusations, crossovers and many more exciting events in the next few weeks,” Percy said, “not to mention the many promises that will be made...”
“What are these promises, thaaththa?” Bindu demanded.
“Why, Bindu,” Percy explained, “Mahinda maama is promising to rebuild the nation and the General is promising to abolish the executive presidency...”
“Both are easier said than done,” Bindu pointed out, “but thaaththa, who do you think everyone else would vote for?”
“Either way,” Percy declared, “it will be a difficult choice...”
“Why is that, thaaththa?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Why, Bindu,” Percy explained, “as someone once said, you can either close your nose and vote for Mahinda maama or close your eyes and vote for the General...”
Bindu didn’t say anything because he knew there was some truth in that.

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