Fifth Column

16th July 2000

What about the principles he stood for?

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"Thaaththa," Bindu Udagedera asked, "what is all this fuss about Ronnie?"

"He is set to crossover again." Percy, Bindu's father explained.

"But Thaaththa," Bindu asked, "won't the people reject such politicians?"

"Old politicians don't just fade away" Percy said, "they cross over to try and extend their political life."

"Why do you say that?"

"Ronnie is not the first to change his colours just before an election."

"Who else did that?" Bindu wanted to know.

"Those who did it regularly were Daha from Galle and of course Thonda." Percy recalled.

"So, why do you think Ronnie did it?"

"Why Bindu, he is seventy-five years old."

"And what has that got to do with it?"

"He probably thinks that if he stays with the greens and they lose this election, he will be eighty-one when the next election comes up."

"So, he joins the Blues, so he could become a minister again."

"That's probably the idea."

"But Thaaththa," Bindu wanted to know, "what about the principles he stood for

when he was with the greens."

"The only principle that politicians understand is being in power, Bindu" Percy said.

"But Thaaththa," Bindu argued, "the blues and the greens have already been rivals."

"But remember what the reds say about them?"

"What is that?"

"Unuth Ekai, Munuth Ekai- that both are the same. So, does it make a difference

which party you are in, really?"

"I don't know about that, Thaaththa," Bindu conceded, "but do you think Ronnie was right in crossing over?"

"That, we must wait and see." Percy said.

"Why do you say that?"

"Because he crossed over in 1989 to the blue side and they lost the election."

"Then, that's not a good sign." Bindu said.

"And he again crossed over to the green side in 1994 and they lost the election."

"So, will history repeat itself, thaaththa?"

"What do you mean by that?"

"What do you think will happen at the next election?"

"That is very difficult to predict." Percy observed.

"Why?" Bindu wanted know.

"For the last twenty years, Bindu, it was very easy to predict the outcome of the elections."

"How was that?" Bindu was puzzled.

"Why, Bindu the side in which had Anura and Ronnie in it always lost the election."

"And now?"

"That is the problem at the next election" Percy said, "now they are in

different sides and we are not sure which side will lose the election."

Bindu did not want to argue about that.

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