17th January 1999
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There will be a fitting reply
By Viruddha PaakshikayaOnly a few months ago, many people of this country hardly knew what 'Wayamba' was. I am sure there were those in the government who thought that Wayamba was some kind of mango.
But today, everyone is aware of the importance of Wayamba, or the North Western Province where the Peoples Alliance will meet it's Waterloo, come January 25 given a free and fair poll. So, the ruling party has suddenly woken up to this reality and decided to counter it by offering not mangoes but many, many carats to the voters to con them into giving their vote for the PA.
Now, I can almost hear my friend, Paakshikaya, protest at this statement. So, let me give some examples.
Perhaps there is no better evidence of this than your Higher Education Minister Richard Pathirana's decision to give Wayamba a University. And, the Cabinet has approved a hundred million rupees virtually even before it was asked for.
And this, Paakshikaya, is in Wayamba where university graduates staged a fast-unto-death at Kurunegala, demanding jobs.
We all know that the government now mass produces graduates in our campuses for political gain, just so that it can say "we increased the numbers entering universities," and ask for votes. But the truth is, they cannot be employed. It is like mass producing garments beyond the quotas: they too cannot be sold. And now, in the midst of all this, Paakshikaya, you want to set up another university!
But that is not all, Paakshikaya. Wayamba is in lucks way because to me it appears that Ministers are falling over each other to please its people. Take Transport Minister A.H. M. Fowzie, for example. Only last week he ordered the transfer of some 40 buses post-haste to Wayamba. So suddenly, all roads lead to Wayamba!
My point, Paakshikaya, is why is the government doing all this? Isn't it simply because without such false promises, it knows that it will lose the election?
Now, last week, Paakshikaya accused our leaders and whom he called their "side-kicks" going to Wayamba in their Volvos, BMWs and Pajeros, and looking at road maps because they didn't know the territory. What about your leaders. Paakshikaya? Don't they go with aerial maps because they have helicopters meant for the war, diverted for campaigning.
Of course, some others in the PA don't need that because they have planted themselves there since Christmas or the instructions of your High Command. I personally know that many of them are grumbling about it because they have been deprived of the comforts they were used to in Colombo.
Recently, Paakshikaya, I heard one PA MP from the Puttalam district referring to the violence allegedly unleashed by the UNP at the Anamaduwa by-elections, and how one of their "big-talkers", now a Cabinet Minister got his Volkswagen smashed up by us. Yes, Paakshikaya, the Cabinet Minister who only had a Volkswagen then, now campaigns in limousine luxury in Wayamba.
He comes to Colombo for the night and sometimes drinks too much and says silly things at felicitation ceremonies, and is then off again to Wayamba in limousine luxury.
That, Paakshikaya, is the real transformation that has taken place in your party, from Volkswagen to Volvo! And you, Paakshikaya have the temerity to say that our boys are travelling in luxury!
Then, that Puttalam District MP was actually very interesting to listen to. While scanning my TV channels (Thank God, we broke the monopoly of Rupavahini!) I came across this call in chat show. Curious to know what the "enemy" was saying, I began listening to this MP.
He was explaining the finer points, the intricacies; The nuances, the interpretation of the word "Beeshanaya", the theme song of the PA's campaign against the UNP government in 1994.
Here he was saying that "Beeshanaya" must consist of murder. Or else, it shall not be "Beeshanaya" says he. If there is no murder, it is only "Prachanda Kriya" or, shall we say, thuggery. To this enlightened parliamentarian this was something like Homicide and culpable Homicide not amounting to murder. Who knows, Paakshikaya, he may have come to these conclusions after hearing your President say "transparency is not nakedness"!
But of course, what no one realizes is that you are transparent enough, it is as good as being naked because all that is there to be seen will be very visible!
So, this PA MP from Puttalam was saying on Rupavahini that there is a world of difference between "Beeshanaya" and "Prachanda Kriya", I suppose, under this theory you can kick a fellows teeth up to his stomach. That will not be "Beeshanya."
That will only be the lesser offence of "Prachanda Kriya". So, we shall not convict the PA on the first charge of "Beeshanaya." But we must give them a suspended sentence of eight years of good behaviour for the lesser offence of "Prachanda Kriya." I will say no more about this Paakshikaya, except to commend your Party for your choice of MPs. How appropriate it is that this particular gentleman represents the district!
But what is disturbing is that while murder - the so called "Beeshanaya"- has been few if any, the tally of thuggery - the so called "Prachanda Kriya" - has been mounting. Our party office is regularly briefing the people of this country through the media, cataloguing the acts of "Beeshanaya" and "Prachanda Kriya" being committed by the PA.
Now, my friend, Paakshikaya has said that we should realise that "Beeshanaya" and "Prachanda Kriya" are not the monopoly of the UNP. Yes, Sir (or Madam!), by all means. We have realised that thank you, but No Thank You. Remember, Paakshikaya, there's always a limit to which any self-respecting person will go. But remember this too: supporters of the UNP, even though thousands are from the Catholic Christian belts of Chilaw, Nattandiya, Bingiriya and Kurunegala, they are not living embodiments of Jesus Christ to turn the other cheek when they are assaulted!
The truth is, Paakshikaya, that you and your party is so scared of- the Wayamba elections that all government work has come to a standstill. Everybody who is somebody is in Wayamba and nobody is in Colombo attending to the day- to- day running of the country.
Take, for example, the official press release of this week's Cabinet meeting, which must reflect in some way what transpired at the meeting of the country's top decision making body. Number one on the agenda is the Wayamba University project which I mentioned earlier.
At Number two is a proposal to set up a Teachers' Education Service. And the last is a proposal to recruit a hundred graduates to "Strengthen the management of Co-operatives", whatever that means.
This is all that your government has been doing all of last week, Paakshikaya and you say that this is a government that is promising milk and honey to Wayamba - which incidentally, produces more milk and honey than it needs! But of course, that is also understandable, Paakshikaya, because we see that your media minister is burning the midnight oil, pouring over old case records to implicate our leader on election "malpractices." Little wonder, then that all your Cabinet does is to talk of a campus, a few teachers and a few graduates!
And that is precisely why you can still only talk of the past acts of Beeshanaya (or is it Prachanda Kriya?) under the old UNP. Of course you make no mention of your leaders who flew away to far away London to the safe-flats of people who have now been closely associated in government tenders.
Instead all you do is talk of the UNP's 17 years in office and how bad it was. But you also make no mention that you still faithfully carry out everything the UNP started - from the open economy to the Executive Presidency; from the Mobile Presidential Secretariat to the Janasaviya - though you call the latter "Samurdhi"!
The sad part, of course is that while you are not original in your policies or plans you cannot even correctly copy what we did in our time. So, you have spent the last four years not only becoming miserable and unpopular but also making life miserable for millions of people in our country.
Therefore, Paakshikaya, I'am certain that those millions of people some of whom reside in that vast expanse of land called "Wayamba" will give you a fitting judgement on Monday, this twenty fifth of January.
You say you will bet your last Bandaranaike Commemorative coin on a PA win at Wayamba. I'll take up the challenge, Paakshikaya; I'm willing to bet my last Premadasa commemorative coin or J.R. Jayewardene commemorative coin on a UNP win.
See, Paakshikaya, we win two-to-one even when it comes to commemorative coins - the same will happen at Wayamba!
Editors Note :Viruddha Paakshikaya has brought to our attention the fact that Paakshikaya and the PA will get an unfair advantage next Sunday, the day before the Wayamba polls, because it happens to be Paakshikaya's turn in this on-going debate.
We have spoken to Paakshikaya and he agrees that in fairness to the Opposition, both Paakshikaya and Viruddha Paakshikaya will be accommodated simultaneously in The Sunday Times next week. Paakshikaya will continue thereafter from January 31.