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Maverick politician for greener pastures?

By Rypvanwinkle

My Dear Vi Ja Moo,

I thought I must write to you when I heard that you had suddenly joined the Blue camp. Although nothing should surprise us anymore when it is about politics in this country, I must say I was more than a little surprised when I heard the news.

I suppose crossing over from the Green party to the Blue party should not shock anyone anymore especially after that ‘gentleman politician’ Karu decided to join Mahinda maama not so long ago with seventeen others. As we can all see, the Green camp is still reeling from the after-effects of that move.
Of course we do remember that you were always a never-say-die member of the Green camp ever since JRJ appointed you to organize Haputale and you walked into the legislature unnoticed in that 1977 landslide.

But if I remember right, you then wore your hair quite long and your maverick ways got you a lot of attention. That was a time when non-cabinet ministers were not the fashion, but you were still appointed as one and asked to look after Indigenous Medicine.

It was then that you tried a few tricks and stole the limelight to some extent. You began popularising ‘kola kenda’ and ordered everyone at your Ministry to answer the telephone with ‘ayubowan’ instead of ‘hello’. There were many who thought you were a bit funny in your ways, but no one took you too seriously!

Next, you were appointed the Minister of Education and thankfully you realized that it was too important a portfolio for you to stamp your views on. And more importantly, the then boss wanted more important people like Lalith and Gamini kept out of these subjects, so he was happy too.

Then you were relegated to the opposition benches for some time but even then you were among the leading lights of the Green camp because you were chosen as the Chief Opposition Whip. But you waited patiently for your next turn when you were rewarded with the Justice Ministry.

But it was your election to the high office of Speaker that became a national event. You won by a mere one vote and even then there were allegations that the ballot box was tampered with. Certainly, some Buddhist monks were tampered with, and you became a hero of sorts, overnight!

When you were elected Speaker, you did pledge to be above party politics but it was no secret that many in the Green camp were unhappy with what you said and did, often taking the ruling party’s side. We thought you were being impartial, but now we know!

I am not sure whether to blame you or the system but then you must be thinking that at sixty nine years of age and with the possibility of a green government a very distant prospect for at least another six years, it is better to be opportunistic rather than principled.

That is probably why you did what you did, crossing over to the Blue camp but then to publicly say that lotuses bloom wherever Mahinda maama sets foot reminds me of another maverick, AJ of the Premadasa era, where he said he would even drink soup made of Preme’s slippers!

Why you want to stoop to that level is indeed a mystery, Vi Ja Moo, but I suppose it has something to do with one of your sons wanting a political career. And since joining the Greens is not the best way to set about it, you must have thought that the only way to ensure a ‘suba anaagathayak’ for him is to undergo a ‘vishvasaneeya venasak’ for yourself!

Anyway, they say you will now be included in the National List, but I sincerely hope you will be able to get into the finally selected lot, because there are so many waiting for an easy ride to the next Parliament on that list!

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS-I hope that, with this political high jump, you are not aspiring for the PM’s job. The incumbent is already very annoyed that anyone should be talking about a vacancy in that position and Di Moo has already stitched a special suit for the occasion, so what chance would you have?

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