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The Fifth Column

16th May 1999

Cross-overs make the headlines

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"Thaaththa" Bindu Udagedera asked, " what do you think will happen in the South?"

"Whatever happens," Bindu's father Percy said, "some people are not taking any chances…"

"Why do you say that?"

"Why, Bindu you just have to read the newspapers and watch TV to see how much of development is going on in the South…"

"Why, thaaththa, those days they used to say 'Colombata kiri, apita kekiri…"

"Now it looks more like 'Dakunata kiri, apita kekiri" "But thaaththa", Bindu asked, "didn't they say they were developing Wayamba in the same way when those elections were held?"

"And thanks to those promises, they won" Percy pointed out.

"That was not only because of those promises, thaaththa" Bindu said.

"Ah, yes" Percy agreed, "that was also because of the broken promise of a free and fair election…"

"Do you think that will happen again in the South?"

"I hope not" Percy said, "that will only make Satellite more embarrassed…"

"But Satellite must be happy these days…"

"Why do you say that?"

"Why, thaaththa, all those people from the south, former Ministers and MPs are leaving the greens and joining the blues…"

"But didn't that happen earlier also?"

"When was that?"

"Why, in 1994 when Dearly Beloved was at the top, there were unheard of people leaving the blues and joining the greens. They were shown on the front pages of the newspapers having tea with Dearly Beloved…"

"Now, people are supposed to be leaving the greens and joining the blues and are shown on the front pages having tea with Satellite" Bindu conceded.

"But remember", Percy pointed out; "the greens lost that 1994 election…"

"Are you saying that the blues will lose this election?" Bindu asked.

"Some blues themselves are worried…,"Percy said.

"Who's that?"

"Why, Mahinda has written to Satellite saying that the blues could have problems"

"But thaaththa" Bindu argued, "the greens are having bigger problems…"

"And that appears to be the only reason why the blues could still win…"

"Why, what about the reds?"

"The reds will be a respectable third…"

"But, who will win, thaaththa?" Bindu wanted to know.

"That's like asking who will win the World Cup, Bindu" Percy complained.

"That's not so difficult, thaaththa" Bindu said.

"Why?" Percy demanded, "how can you be so sure who will win it?"

"Whoever it is," Bindu said, "some people are very sure it won't be us…"

"Why do you say that?"

"One Company is offering a free video player to all those who buy TVs from them, but only if we win the World Cup…"

"Then," said Percy, "they must be pretty sure we won't win the Cup…"

"And what is worse is the offer comes from the company which sponsors our team, thaaththa" Bindu said.

"Well, maybe the greens could learn a lesson from that" Percy suggested.

"What is that?"

"Why, there is Wijeyapala, demanding that he be re-appointed Opposition Chief whip because that was the post he held before Ranil suspended him…"

"So, what can they do now?"

"Maybe" Percy suggested, "Ranil could say, 'Yes I'll re-appoint you Chief Whip when the UNP wins the Southern Provincial Council…"

Bindu smiled in agreement.

Rajpal Abeynayake's Column

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