Columns - 5th column

Honey, don’t you ever leave me

By Rypvanwinkle

My dear Rauf,

I thought I must write to you after hearing that you and your party would be supporting Mahinda maama. Of course, knowing you and knowing Mahinda maama, this does not surprise me but then, all this sounds a little bit funny, considering what you have been saying in the recent past.

We must of course realize that nothing should surprise us anymore when we are dealing with our politicians. Why, we now have Arjuna teaming up with the General, Mangala joining the Greens and KP singing the praises of Gotabaya, so why should we worry about an established turncoat like you suddenly switching sides?

We know that you are a past master at this game, Rauf. Previously you were quite content to play second fiddle to the founder of your party until he died suddenly in a helicopter crash ten years ago. But we do recall that even your founder was quite skilled at changing sides at the drop of a Fez.

Why, he was an ardent supporter of Preme but once he was assassinated, your former boss knew that the winds of change were blowing and quickly switched loyalties to support Satellite. So, just a year after singing Preme’s praises, there he was as Minister of Ports and Rehabilitation in Satellite’s Cabinet.

We do recall that you had a difficult time after the demise of your former boss, Rauf. In keeping with Sri Lankan tradition, the late leader’s widow was being pushed into the limelight and some felt that you could not be trusted with your party’s leadership. Ultimately, you grabbed the leadership and the Trade portfolio in Satellite’s Cabinet while the late leader’s widow went ahead and formed a party of her own…

But barely a year later, Satellite had decided that enough is enough and sacked you from the Cabinet. The reason she gave was that you were ‘violating cabinet responsibility’, whatever that means, but we all felt there was more to it than that.

Not one to be discouraged by such a snub, you crept into the Green camp Rauf, and engineered the downfall of Satellite’s government. Just six months and a general election later, you were back in the government, this time with the Greens and had been rewarded by Uncle Ranil with the Ports portfolio which you coveted so much.

But then, that government was short-lived and you were in the Opposition once again after two and a half years after the Greens lost that general election. We do recall that it was during this time that Satellite decided to get her own back for betraying her and tried to taint you with some scandalous allegations, in which exercise her good friend Avamangala also played a major role!

But there was another opportunity that presented itself and that was the presidential poll that pitted Mahinda maama against Uncle Ranil. Again, you had no hesitation in backing Uncle Ranil. Uncle Ranil may have lost that election but you were not prepared to languish in the Opposition without a ministerial portfolio or the perks of cabinet office for long.

So, just over a year later you were back in government, joining Mahinda maama’s team and trying to explain to us why he was a better bet than Uncle Ranil. And, for your efforts, he rewarded you with the Posts and Telecommunications portfolio! Of course, that honeymoon was short-lived and by the end of that year you had quit Mahinda maama’s team, saying that he was not doing enough for your community. You stayed in the opposition for a while thereafter, telling those who still wanted to believe you that Uncle Ranil, after all, was the better option.

And that is the tune you have been singing since then-both at the last presidential election where you supported the General and also at the recent general election where you contested from the Greens. Why, Uncle Ranil that poor chap believed in you so much that he even allocated some precious National List seats for your party, at the expense of his own popularity among the Greens!

So, after all that dear Rauf, history is repeating itself for you. After supporting the Opposition at the general and presidential elections and having failed to get into the government because the Opposition lost those elections, you are now talking of supporting the government.

We know you will have some convoluted explanation for all this Rauf, but I hope you don’t believe that we believe you. Your decision will undoubtedly give Mahinda maama the two-thirds majority that he so desires and I am sure Mahinda maama will reward you for that-if not immediately, at least with a portfolio of your choice, when he reshuffles the Cabinet after assuming office for a second term in November!So, we must wish you luck but we do hope that your stint in government this time around will be much longer. I hope Rauf, you do realise that after Mahinda maama gets his constitutional amendments through, he will be dictating terms to you, not the other way around!

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS-Rauf, does ‘Udathalawinna’ ring a bell? Well, at least now, if you have any doubts as to what really happened there you can clarify them, now that you are on the same side!

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