Columns - 5th column

You’re getting predictable and driving us nuts!

By Rypvanwinkle

My dear Dayananda,

I thought I must write to you because we are all very confused about these local government elections that you have scheduled for us in March.

Now Dayananda, we know that you don’t really like your job these days and you would dearly wish to retire and be appointed as Ambassador somewhere as a reward for your services, but then the Constitution doesn’t permit that, does it?

Is that why, Dayananda, you seem to be very keen on confusing all of us by first announcing elections to over three hundred local councils and then postponing elections to some of these councils everyday? Why, at the last count, only two hundred or so councils were having elections after all!

First, there was the excuse that elections were not being held in some councils because they were located close to World Cup venues. But that was silly because some of the councils where elections were not being held were nowhere near Keththarama, Pallekele or Sooriyaweva…

If the World Cup was indeed the reason for postponing some of these elections, you could have postponed the entire poll saying they were being held close to World Cup venues in Chennai, Dayananda!

Of course I do know you didn’t make that decision, so it is not fair to blame you entirely for that but then you must take responsibility for what has happened thereafter. So many nomination lists were rejected and then the Greens and the Blues tried to outdo each other by challenging these rejections in Court.
Then you, the great democrat that you are, postponed elections to these councils on the basis that the courts may decide to accept these rejected nominations later. Now, that is not really your job is it, Dayananda?

In the past, we remember you as someone who followed the law to the letter, even if it appeared that justice was not being done. Why, how many elections have you certified saying they were “duly completed”, when so many malpractices took place?And in how many elections have you publicly tugged at the few strands of hair that you have left claiming your hands are tied and you can do nothing except to act according to the law even though we all knew that some of those elections that you ‘duly certified’ were seriously flawed?

But now, instead of letting the courts do their work you take it upon yourself to postpone elections to some of these councils just because some parties have objected to their nomination lists being rejected. Is it because most of these were from the Blue party, Dayananda?

Of course, I certainly don’t envy you because your sidekick in all this is our good Police Chief, the ‘doctor’ who doesn’t know whether he is coming or going, quite apart from implementing election laws to the letter.

Why, very recently he banned ‘papara’ bands and banners from World Cup matches saying they were a security threat. If that is so, he should ban Mervyn from watching World Cup matches also! And then, the very next day our Police Chief sheepishly announces that the ban has been ‘relaxed’!

So, Dayananda, these policemen will look the other way-or will be watching the World Cup matches - while election laws are being flouted with cut-outs being erected, posters displayed and a lot of election mayhem taking place-only for you to declare at the end of it that the poll has been ‘duly conducted!’
We remember the time you watched helplessly last year during two major elections while all election laws were violated and the state media and government resources were abused to the hilt. That was when you spoke of the ‘aathathiya’ that was troubling you and how you desperately wanted to quit your job.

I wonder what has happened to all that ‘aathathiya’, Dayananda? Have you got used to it now like we Sri Lankans have got used to KP being given VIP treatment and you-know-who is languishing in jail? Or is it that you have now given up on all the ideals that you stood for and have decided to just obey orders that come from the top?

If that is so and if you like to redeem yourself by conducting one final election before you retire, Dayananda, there is one last chance: I would suggest you preside over the election of the next Green Leader. After all, that election is more important to the country than these silly local elections that you are conducting now!

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS-If you are thinking of your retirement Dayananda, if I remember correctly your predecessor Chandananda was appointed as Defence Secretary by Satellite. Now, that is one job you won’t get, so why don’t you pick on a country where you could be Ambassador? I would suggest Egypt or even Libya: they could do with your services after all, they may have to replace one dictator with another!

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