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The Fifth Column

17th January 1999

Talk of a successor

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FRIDAY - It is Thaaththa's hundredth birth anniversary and we are lucky to be in office. If the greens were in power, they could have conveniently forgotten all about it just like we ignore the birthdays of the Senanayakes and Jayewardenes now. Anyway Mangala has made arrangements to convert the event into a propaganda exercise, what with Wayamba coming up shortly. A Rupavahini chap interviewed me about Thaaththa and I made it a point to tell him that Thaaththa always thought that I would be his successor and not Akka or Malli. Malli must be annoyed about that I guess, but it's true too....

SATURDAY - Anu is keeping away from the compaign trail. I guess he wants to show his dissappointment over the creation of the Joint Operation Bureau (JOB) under my direct commandr. Well it is no secret that he is opposed to JOB because he wants Amma's job and Amma is not willing to give it to him. I can't take any chances because I need to keep my job too....

SUNDAY - They tell me that the chap from Anamaduwa is running riot there. I told the chap to be cautious in what he does because it might cost us the election, if they file an election petition. But, he doesn't seem to care. "Baya Wenda Epa Madam", he says, "Api Dinanawa, Hondin Berinam Narakin...."

MONDAY- Everybody is criticising that Free Trade Agreement I signed with India, saying it is to our disadvantage. My problem is that I cannot get anyone to defend me. All the ministers too want to keep silent on the issue because they also apparently think that what I did was wrong. And, as usual, Thilan has to help me out, offering some complex theory as to how the Agreement benefits us. The beauty of it is even I can't understand his explanation, but that is just fine. Of course, now I am used to such situations, after working for four years with GL....!

TUESDAY - At long last, the Eagle Lady says she will support me at Wayamba. The problem is the others with her - they want her to support the greens. But, curiously enough, she has decided not to go along with them. Such loyalty must surely be rewarded, so I'm thinking of a reshuffle after Wayamba. I must give her something to keep her occupied; not transport of course but something less important so she will be happy....

WEDNESDAY - Campaigning is hard work, even with a helicopter at my disposal. And everywhere I go, be it Wennappuwa or Nattandiya or Kurunegala I have to think of something new to say. At one rally I asked whether Ranil was under JR's bed when JR used all his cunning tactics and that went quite well with the audience....

THURSDAY - Mangala has discovered an old case record where a court blames Ranil for some election offences and the fellow is making a big din about it. I told him not to make such a noise because somebody from their side will find something about one of our people and that could be more embarrassing....!

Rajpal Abeynayake's Column

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