Mrs. Anumaana tends to tune out every time the topic comes up. So astounding are the stories surrounding the incidents that took place at Monday's UNP office-bearers' election, that they make her head spin. Sunil swears that there was a sighting of a 'Man from Mars' on the lawn in front of Siri Kotha, the UNP headquarters - and that a 'strange glow' was seen emanating from somewhere in the building that day.
Rumours abound, but the trillion rupee question seems to be, where did the 'unidentified flying objects' come from? Was it from Karu's minions? Was it Sajith's collaborators? Or perhaps it was Maithree's extra-legal support group? Or was it a special team paid out of Shiral's secret stash of 'German NGO funding?' Some even say they saw a foreign ambassador sneaking away from the scene ...
The most heavily canvassed hypothesis however, is that it was a goon squad hired by Maharajas. After all, how come Sirasa was around to televise the excitement - live? Isn't it far fetched to think they were simply going about their business as news reporters? Why in the world would news reporters want to record the events surrounding an inconsequential development such as a crisis within the country's main opposition party? Isn't this none of their business? A sinister conspiracy is afoot, the Opposition Leader emphatically states, and nothing short of a Special Government Investigation will reveal the truth, he says. Forget the CID.
When it comes to theories, the citizenry are spoiled for choice. But the main item on the agenda as far as Ranil is concerned, is the rock. A rock he carefully transported and brought to a media briefing, to present to the representative of the offending media organisation. A popular media organisation by all accounts, whose sin was that it didn't know how to mind its own business that day.
Sunil says Ranil is billed to receive an award for becoming the only Opposition Leader who has succeeded in dominating the news in this manner during a Budget debate. He points out how all eyes (and all TV cameras) were riveted on this drama, and Ranil's 'special statement' in Parliament, while government MPs were debating boring subject matter such as the intricacies of budget allocations for various ministries etc.
But even the assortment of rocks picked up from the lawn of Siri Kotha has failed to bridge the credibility gap that has developed, it appears. Sunil says that Ranil is still trying to figure out how to deal with those troublesome party insiders - especially the ones who have overnight become 'outsiders.'
Not only do they persist with their unwanted questions, they even hold press briefings with frightening regularity, leading others to ponder these questions as well!
Questions such as, how can an election be described as 'secret,' when each ballot paper had a number on it …? Why were so many appointments suddenly made to the Working Committee at the last minute?
Why was nobody was arrested on the day of the incident - in spite of incriminating video footage? Why, with the elections over, are so many party stalwarts still so disgruntled and everyone so disunited?
And last but not least, how will Ranil explain his posing as a 'champion of media freedom,' after publicly appealing for the boycott of a leading media organisation?
Sunil says the police have been directed to somehow find the 'Man from Mars,' as he may have some of the answers.