Columns - 5th column

Winning hearts, speak louder than winning votes!

By Rypvanwinkle

My dear Vasu, Tissa and Dew,

I thought of writing to you because you have been in the news recently for rather surprising reasons-opposing Mahinda maama’s plans to go for a third term of office, thereby trying to better even JRJ’s record.

Of course, with the Greens in disarray and the Reds scraping the barrel for votes, at this point in time it looks as if Mahinda maama can go on for any number of years, but we all fear about what absolute power in the hands of any single individual could do, especially if it gets extended for a lengthy period of time.

Even JRJ, who was once hailed as the saviour of this country was toying with the idea of running for a third term of office. Nevertheless, by the time his second term was nearing its end, Indian soldiers were fighting with the Tigers in the North and our own soldiers were fighting with the Rathu sahodarayas in the South. There was chaos everywhere, the country stopped work because a chit was sent to someone-and JR promptly dropped the idea of a third term!

Of course, Preme was no different. There have been recent pronouncements that a ‘Premadasa Yugaya’ will dawn once more, but most of us remember the fights he had with Lalith and Gamini and he was not the most popular of leaders when he was assassinated.

Then of course, we had Satellite. To give the lady her due, I must say although she did nothing much for the country during the eleven years that she was at the helm, she was probably the least dictatorial of the lot-with the exception of the accidentally appointed Dearly Beloved, of course.

But even she couldn’t resist exercising her executive powers every now and then which is why she suddenly took over three ministries one fine day and then went on to dissolve Parliament before a dissolution was due. And that is one of the reasons why the Greens are still in the Opposition!

So, with all this behind us, is it a wonder then that we are more than a little worried when someone says he wants not one or two terms of office but at least three, six year terms? If nothing else, Mahinda maama would be a ripe old seventy eight years of age when he finishes his third term!

That is why, Vasu, Tissa and Dew, we admire you for having the courage of your convictions to say that you oppose anyone running for a third term of office, regardless of the fact that you are in Mahinda maama’s government.

That is so refreshingly different from people like Johnston and Seeni Bola for instance, who suddenly woke up one day to realize that the Greens are all evil and that Mahinda maama is the Absolute Great leader and then jumped from the Green camp to the Blue camp at the eleventh hour-just so that they could enjoy the perks and privileges of being a cabinet minister.

Of course, we have known Vasu for many years as a tireless activist who championed the cause of the underdog. Tissa is known for his integrity and simplicity although he won’t be remembered for the All Party Representative Committee which he chaired. Dew was entrusted with carrying the torch left behind by the late Sarath and he has done an honourable job of it.

So, we are not surprised that you are now standing up for what is right and saying that no one-not even the great Mahinda maama who won the war for us and rid the country of terrorism-should be given three terms of office as President.

We also heard that you are opposed to scrapping the 17th Amendment to the constitution, which provides for the appointment of all those independent commissions governing the Police, the Judiciary, elections and the Public Service.

Now that you have made all these pronouncements, dear Vasu, Tissa and Dew, we sincerely hope you will follow your words with deeds and have the strength to oppose these measures when it comes to a vote in Parliament.

As you are obviously aware, all these changes that are being proposed require a two thirds majority which the Blues are now tantalizingly close to obtaining because some of the newly elected Greens want to cross over to the other side. Now, if you register your protest by voting against these changes that would cause serious problems to the Blues!

So, think about it, dear Vasu, Tissa and Dew. What we fear is that despite all your lofty statements, you may suddenly get cold feet and vote with Mahinda maama. Remember, if that happens people will always remember you for selling your souls for the privilege of staying with the government.

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS-And if you needed just that added bit of incentive to convince yourselves that you should take a stand on this issue, please remember that if you go along with the Blues you will be remembered in the same manner as Wimal sahodaraya! Now you wouldn’t want that to happen, would you?

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