Fifth Column

3rd September 2000

Figures form the basis of a fight

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My Dear Ashraff,

I thought of writing to you after hearing about your silly threats and so-called resignation last week, all because your friend Fowzie said you will not be able to win even five seats if you contested alone at the elections.

Fowzie threw a challenge at you didn't he? He asked you to contest on your own and win more than five seats and said he would quit politics, if you could do that. So, the manly thing to do would have been to accept that challenge and contest on your own.

But what do you do, Ashraff? First you say that you will accept the challenge and you also send your letter of resignation to Satellite. When Satellite sends Seeni Bola and The Moo to pacify you, you even refuse to meet them saying you are busy writing your resignation letter.

Then you fly away to Mecca. From there, you say you will never sit in the same Cabinet with Fowzie again. And all this while, even though you are behaving like a spoilt three-year old, people are admiring you for your courage because they believe you will honour your word.

Even when you return to the country you ignore the official vehicle sent to you and drive away in your own car, making a big show of it. But then what do you do, Ashraff? You visit Satellite for tea and agree to join the team again, forgetting all what you said only a few days earlier!

Fowzie of course is still in the cabinet and Satellite has promised what is called a 'disciplinary inquiry' into what he said about you. But, knowing what Satellite's inquiries are like- Batalanda is a good example- you can be assured that nothing will come out of it and good old Fowzie will carry on regardless.

So, Ashraff, maybe when you attend the next Cabinet meeting, you will have to keep standing, because you said you would not sit with Fowzie in the same cabinet again. As we see it, that is the only way you can keep both your word and your job!

Therefore, as far as the voters are concerned, Fowzie has won round one quite convincingly. He must be laughing to himself these days thinking about how he took you for a ride and how you had to eat your own words in the end.

Then, to make matters worse, Seeni Bola says that the little tiff between you and Satellite was the work of a green conspiracy. I wonder whether he really means that Fowzie is a green agent in the blue camp! Anyway, Ashraff, there was a time when we all thought that you were what Thonda was to the plantations- an undisputed leader with whom national leaders could work in harmony. We thought that it was good to have such leaders because it prevented minorities from taking a gun into their hands. But, Ashraff, these recent events show that you have a long, long way to go and a lot more to learn, before becoming a national leader!

But then, we can't find fault with you either, can we? After all, despite all your idle threats, you still need a job and a place in the cabinet- even if Fowzie is sitting right next to you! Anyway, we hope you can get a few thousand votes at least at the elections, so that you have something to show for all your efforts!

Yours Truly, 
Punchi Putha. 

PS - Don't be too disappointed with the events of last week, Ashraff. You are not the only one to sacrifice principles for a place in the Cabinet. If you need any advice about that, just ask Dinesh, will you?

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