Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “what is all this fuss about elections…”
“I believe they want to have elections to local bodies…” Bindu’s father Percy explained.
“But thaaththa,” Bindu pointed out, “didn’t we have enough elections last year?”
“We did,” Percy agreed, “but that didn’t include these elections, so Mahinda maama wants to have them now…”
“But does every one want these elections now, thaaththa?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Well,” Percy said, “elections are always good for a healthy democracy…”
“But thaaththa,” Bindu recalled, “I thought some didn’t want these elections held right now…”
“And who would that be?” Percy wondered.
“Why, thaaththa,” Bindu said, “Captain Cool had wanted the elections postponed…”
“And why is that?” Percy asked.
“Well,” Bindu said, “he says it would not be appropriate to have elections while we are hosting the cricket World Cup…”
“And why is it inappropriate?” Percy was curious.
“He says that because we fight among ourselves so much during an election, it would create a bad image at a time when world attention would be focussed on the country…” Bindu explained.
“What would happen then?” Percy inquired.
“For instance,” Bindu pointed out, “if they have to impose a curfew during the World Cup because of the elections that would generate a lot of negative publicity…”
“I suppose it could be bad even for tourism,” Percy declared.
“And maybe that is what Captain Cool was thinking about…” Bindu said, “because he was a Deputy Minister of Tourism at one time…”
“So,” Percy asked, “has Mahinda maama agreed to Captain Cool’s request?”
“Well,” Bindu said, “yes and no…”
“And what is that supposed to mean?” Percy was puzzled.
“Mahinda maama has decided to have elections throughout the country except in the areas where World Cup matches are staged…” Bindu explained.
“And what good will that do?” Percy asked.
“Why, thaaththa,” Bindu pointed out, “while we can still have most of the elections on schedule, we will also avoid generating bad publicity in places where the World Cup is being staged…”
“And where are these places?” Percy demanded.
“Why, near Colombo, Kandy and Hambantota…” Bindu replied.
“And where will there be no elections on account of the World Cup?” Percy queried.
“For example,” Bindu said, “there will be no elections to the Municipal Councils in Colombo, Kotte and Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia…”
“So,” Percy asked, “what about elections to local bodies in Gampaha, Negombo or Kalutara?”
“They will of course be held in the best traditions of democracy, thaaththa,” Bindu assured.
“So,” Percy wondered, “what happens if there is some negative publicity arising out of elections that will be held in these areas?”
“I suppose they will have to deal with it at that time…” Bindu declared.
“But surely, then the authorities must be hoping that any adverse reports from these areas do not reach the World Cup venues where all the media will be…” Percy said.
“I suppose so…” Bindu conceded.
“But in this day and age that would be rather optimistic, wouldn’t it?” Percy asked.
“But thaaththa,” Bindu argued, “Mahinda maama has always been optimistic…”
“Why do you say that, Bindu?” Percy wanted to know.
“Why, I am sure he must be hoping to win these elections too…” Bindu said.
“How can he be so sure about that?” Percy wondered.
“Why,” Bindu suggested, “I am sure he wants to hold these elections now because the Greens are still undecided as to who their party leader would be …”
“So,” Percy asked, “what are the Greens doing about that?”
“Well,” Bindu declared, “I don’t think they have still made up their minds as to who their next party leader should be…”
“And why do you say that?” Percy inquired.
“Why, thaaththa, they haven’t decided whether they want young blood or whether they want to allow their seniors to stay on,” Bindu observed, “and as long as that question remains, Mahinda maama will gain an advantage…”
“But isn’t Mahinda maama having problems with his own seniors?” Percy wanted to know.
“What problems are those?” Bindu was surprised.
“Why, aren’t his own senior ministers complaining about being given a raw deal?” Percy recalled.
“I don’t think they are exactly overjoyed with what they have got…” Bindu conceded.
“And didn’t the former number two make a loud complaint recently?” Percy remembered.
“Yes, he did,” Bindu said, “but I think a powerful message has been given to all the seniors in the Blue camp and I think even those in the Green camp should take that message seriously…”
“And what message is that?” Percy was curious.
“Why, thaaththa,” Bindu explained, “Sanath and Vaas have been dropped from the World Cup squad…”
Percy didn’t know quite what to say to that.