Columns - 5th column

An endless elephant dance

By Rypvanwinkle

My Dear Karu,

I thought I must write to you because I heard that you were about to contest the Green Man for the leadership of the Uncle Nephew Party-again! This time though you are supposed to have taken a firm decision and even written to the party secretary stating your intentions!

I suppose this must be different to the last time this sort of circus was enacted. Why, I remember it was only a few months ago that young Sajith proposed that you should take over the reins and you rather coyly said, "I will serve in any capacity I am asked to."

Of course, that turned out to be much ado about nothing because the Green Man simply said that he has been elected for a year and there was no election for you to contest and threw the party Constitution at you, suggesting that you didn't even know what you were talking about.

And just to rub it in, Karu, he appointed Long John as the Acting Leader of the Opposition when he went overseas. If ever there was a signal from the Green Man that he didn't trust you anymore, that was it-and I don't blame him either!

Now, young Sajith has again suggested that you will be the Messiah that saves the party from destruction. And the ever willing 'gentleman' that you are, you have again said that you are ready for a contest with the Green Man for the post of party leader.

It is your right to do so and we all respect that, Karu. But having been in politics for close to fifteen years, I am surprised at how naïve you have been in falling into Sajith's trap. Well, it can happen to anyone once but when it happens twice, we have to question your wisdom.

You are seventy one-years-old now, Karu and there are no major national elections for the next five years, at least. So are you trying to convince us that you want to lead the Greens in their next election campaign, at the ripe old age of seventy six?

And do you seriously believe that young Sajith is in this race to let you have all the glory of becoming the leader? Most of us, Karu, would rather believe that he is asking you to run because he knows he won't stand a chance against the Green Man.

Of course, you have more than demonstrated in the past that you have a mind of your own and that you do what you wish, regardless of what would happen to the Greens. Why, who could forget how you crossed over with seventeen other MPs to the Blue side four years ago?

Even though you are aspiring for the leadership of the Greens now, Karu, do you realise that you are also largely responsible-as much as the Green Man is, I daresay-for the pathetic plight that the Greens find themselves in today?

Why, apart from you, none of the other MPs who crossed over to the Blues with you in 2007 have returned; instead, they are holding ministerial posts in Mahinda maama's Cabinet even today! These are stalwarts who, if not for you, would have still been with the Greens!

You keep on saying that you crossed over to Mahinda maama's side to help strengthen his hand to fight the war against the Tigers. But even that sounds a bit silly, because you returned to the Greens just approximately a year later in December 2008-when the war was at its peak!

That is why, Karu, most shudder at the thought of you leading the Greens. They know that the Green Man, with his abysmal record on the war, his clumsy style in public and his Colombo-centred policies may not be the best leader, but at least he hasn't betrayed the greens, so far.

I would have thought that being one of the most senior Green leaders-at least in age, if not in experience and political know-how-you would have been the ideal person to heal the rift between the Green Man and Sajith, but that is being too optimistic, isn't it?

We all know what a clever politician Mahinda maama is and we have seen him outsmart the Green Man time and time again. We can only hope and pray for you if you do become the Green Leader because he is sure to have you running around in circles!

Nevertheless, Karu, we wish you luck. You will need a lot of it, if you are to beat the Green Man at a leadership contest. And, even if you do that, you will need more good fortune to get Sajith to toe your line thereafter!

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS-Now, I heard that some want to have a secret ballot to elect the Green Leader. There is nothing wrong with that but I can suggest a better way to ensure your election: get that man Dayananda, who is hiding somewhere in retirement, to preside over the election!

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