Fifth Column

10th December 2000

Dis-appointment though with Midas touch

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My dear Seeni Bola,

I thought of writing to you when it was rather abruptly announced this week that you had been appointed the Deputy Minister of Finance. Of course, Seeni Bola, we all now know that Satellite acts in mysterious and puzzling ways but even then, this came as a surprise.

That is because she took weeks and weeks to announce that the General and the Professor were deputies for defence and finance respectively. And just when the suspense had ended, she springs another surprise on us and announces that you are to share the job with the Professor of Law!

I was not fortunate enough to be there when our good professor heard that you were to be his bedfellow, so to speak, in the Finance Ministry. Anyway, those who witnessed that poignant moment tell me that his face, on hearing the news, was not the kind of picture that he would want to use in his poster campaign at the next election!

Frankly, Seeni Bola, we are all a little puzzled by all these appointments. Here we are with rising diesel and gas prices and being told to tighten our belts.

At the same time we have to support some 44 ministers and 30-odd deputy ministers and as if that were not enough, now we are told that some ministries-like finance- need not one but two deputy ministers! But then, I am sure Satellite must be having her reasons for her decisions because she is not the kind of lady who indulges in unnecessary expenditure, when it is costing the taxpayer so much!

Then I must also remind you, Seeni Bola, this is one rare chance to get into history. All you have to do is, as soon as Satellite goes on one of her European missions, get appointed as the acting minister. 

If at that time there is an issue of currency notes- they will have your name and signature on them! Now, I can foresee a problem here because the professor will want to do just that but why dont you reach a compromise? Why, you can ask him to sign on the ten, twenty and fifty rupee notes and you can sign on the hundred, five hundred and one thousand rupee notes! That will ensure your place in history and anyway, with currency notes with your signature on it, who needs posters for the next election?

But I must admit, Seeni Bola, that Satellite couldnít have picked on a more odd couple. And we can have a laugh simply by picturing the two of you together carrying the black box into Parliament next year to present the budget!

Anyway, donít be deterred in your new job. After all, we did feel sorry for you because just after you did all the dirty work for Satellite to win the elections, she removed your powerful Sports and Youth Affairs portfolios and left you with only Samurdhi to look after. Then you had to pester her and ask for Up Country Development- whatever that means. But now it seems Satellite needs you again which is why she is offering you these leftovers from the deputy ministries.

But take heart, Seeni Bola. If you could win the elections for Satellite, we believe that there is nothing that you cannot do. We can at least rest assured that if the country runs short of money you could even print it for us.

Yours truly, 

Punchi Putha

PS- Seeni Bola, you seem to have the Midas touch because everything you touched has so far turned into gold- you took over Sports and we won the world cup and you took over Samurdhi and Satellite won the election. Of course, there was one exception and that turned into Bronze!

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