“Thaaththa”, Bindu Udagedera asked, “was the budget passed?”
“Yes, Bindu,” Bindu’s father Percy said, “but why do you ask?”
“Why thaaththa, wasn’t there a lot of excitement and suspense when the vote on the budget was passed last year?”
“That was last year, Bindu,” Percy recalled, “fortunately or unfortunately, there was no such drama this year...”
“Why is that, thaaththa?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Why, Bindu,” Percy explained, “that is because the Budget was passed by a majority of over forty votes...”
“But how could that be, thaaththa?” Bindu was puzzled, “last year, the majority was only a handful of votes and there has been no election since then...”
“But that is how it happened, Bindu,” Percy said, “because, as someone once said, we have a five star democracy...”
“Why do you say that, thaaththa?” Bindu asked.
“Why, we have allowed our parliamentarians to vote anyway they want, regardless of which party they were elected from...” Percy pointed out.
“What happens then, thaaththa?” Bindu wondered.
“Well,” Percy said, “so, we have people who have been elected from among the greens now voting with the blues...”
“And can’t the greens do anything about it?” Bindu queried.
“No, of course not,” Percy said, “in fact, most of the main members of Mahinda maama’s cabinet are those elected from among the greens...”
“Who else is voting for the blues?” Bindu asked.
“Why, we even have people who have been elected from among the reds now voting with the blues...” Percy observed.
“That is indeed something new...” Bindu agreed.
“And that is not all,” Percy declared, “there are also some of Uncle Rauf’s people voting with the blues...”
“Well, that is remarkable...” Bindu conceded.
“And, if that is surprising, how about Thonda and his clan who now vote with the blues, even though they used to vote with the greens for decades?” Percy asked.
“That is remarkable too...” Bindu said, “especially since they too were elected to Parliament on the green ticket...”
“Then of course,” Percy said, “there are those from the saffron robed camp who vote with the blues anyway...”
“And a few others like the Communists and Samasamajists who have no choice but to support the blues, I suppose...” Bindu noted.
“Yes,” Percy said, “which is why Mahinda maama was able to win the budget vote without that much of a fuss this year...”
“But thaaththa,” Bindu wanted to know, “isn’t there anyone who was elected from the blue party voting against them?”
“Yes, Bindu,” Percy said, “there are some reds who were elected on the blue ticket, who are now voting with the greens...”
“And they are the only exceptions?” Bindu wanted to know.
“No, of course not,” Percy explained, “why, there are those elected from the blue party itself who are now voting against them...”
“So, what you are saying is that there are all kinds of permutations and combinations in this game...” Bindu observed.
“Yes,” Percy said, “as many as you can think of...”
“But thaaththa,” Bindu said, “wouldn’t it then be easier for Mahinda maama to dissolve Parliament, hold fresh elections and get people who really support him elected on the blue ticket, so he wouldn’t have to depend on these other parties...”
“No,” Percy said, “I don’t think he would want to do that now...” Percy declared.
“And why is that, thaaththa?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Well,” Percy said, “in a new Parliament if all the greens vote for the greens and all the blues vote for the blues and all the reds oppose the blues, Mahinda maama will be in serious trouble...”
Bindu knew he hadn’t thought about that prospect until then.