The Fifth Column

27th October 1996

Playing a game of politics

My dear Ashraff,

It's nice to hear that you are back in the news these days doing a little arm twisting to prevent Satellite from having her way.

Of course, Ashraff, we know this is nothing new to you. We can all remember how you supported the greens when Preme was leading them. Then, at the next elections, when everyone knew which way the wind was blowing, you changed sides in a manner which would have had old Ronnie blushing !

We know that your bargaining power is in the votes you command in the East and in the nine MPs in Parliament, and that is why Satellite cannot do without you even though she says "Ashraff won't have his way..."

But you know better than most politicians how you should keep everybody happy which is probably why you always invite both Ranil and Satellite as guests of your party's annual conventions.

Now, we hear that you are fighting to locate a harbour where you want it to be, instead of where Satellite wants to have it. We know that you would have to build that harbour in your "homeland" and give employment to voters in that area. That would, of course, guarantee your re-election at the next polls and probably increase your bargaining power with the next government.

We are not objecting to all this, because we know you are playing the game of politics and playing it well too.

But, just be careful, because Satellite can be very stubborn at times and stick to her decision, no matter what the consequences.

As it is, she already has enough problems on her hands because none of the partners in her alliance are very happy. Everyone, it seems - Srimani, uncle Bernard, Vasu and even young Galappathi- has some demand or another which she cannot agree to.

Anyway, best of luck in your fun and games. We are enjoying every moment of it. If you carry on like this it won't be long before you pose a challenge to Fowzie, M.H.M. and A.C.S. as the champion of your community.

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha.

PS- We hope, you have the sense to become a Thondaman of the Muslims if necessary, but never a Prabhakaran of your community.

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