5th Column

A debilitating case of election fever


“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “what is all this fuss about elections?”
“Why, Bindu,” Percy explained, “we are having elections again.”

“I thought we didn’t need to have any more elections for a few years,” Bindu said.
“That is true,” Percy said, “but Mahinda maama has decided that we should.”
“Is that why some people are complaining?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Well,” Percy said, “they say they are complaining because the elections are being held when they are not due.”
“Where will these elections be held, thaaththa?” Bindu wondered.
“They will be held in three provinces,” Percy said.
“But thaaththa,” Bindu pointed out, “the Blues already control these areas, don’t they?”
“Yes, they do,” Percy said.
“If the Blues already control these councils and the Greens and the Reds are being given a chance to challenge them even before the end of the terms of these councils, why should they complain?” Bindu was puzzled.
“They say the elections will cost the country a lot of money,” Percy recalled, “especially because elections are being held to only three councils and not the rest.”
“What does that mean?” Bindu inquired.
“What that means,” Percy explained, “is that elections to the other councils may follow later, on another date.”
“Will that cost even more money, thaaththa?” Bindu asked.
“Why, Bindu,” Percy said, “when elections to the other councils have to be held again on a different day, it means security and transport, for example have to be provided all over again so it costs a lot more money than having elections for all nine provinces on the same day.”
“That may be true,” Bindu said, “but if the Greens and the Reds had a real chance of winning these elections, I don’t think they would be complaining about the extra cost.”
“That may be true too,” Percy conceded, “but at the same time, some are complaining that elections are not being held where they are really needed…”
“Where is that, thaaththa?” Bindu asked.
“Why, Bindu, “Percy said, “elections have never been held in the North and they will not be held there in this first round of elections as well.”
“So what will happen at the elections, thaaththa?” Bindu wondered.
“Well,” Percy said, “we all know what will happen, don’t we?”
“Why do you say that?” Bindu was curious.
“Elections will be held to one set of councils and the Blues will win those elections,” Percy declared.
“And what will happen next?” Bindu asked.
“Why, that will have an impact on the other elections and then the Blues will go on to win all the other elections as well,” Percy predicted.
“If that happens, thaaththa,” Bindu said, “the Greens and the Reds have only themselves to blame.”
“Why do you say that?” Percy asked.
“Why, thaaththa, we must be the only country where the ruling party wants to conduct more and more elections and the Opposition is asking them not to,” Bindu pointed out.
“That may be true,” Percy agreed, “and then we all know what will happen after that.”
“Why, what will happen after that?” Bindu was puzzled.
“Why,” Percy said, “after every election loss, the two groups in the Greens start to fight with each other.”
“And what will be the result of that?” Bindu inquired.
“One group will start a campaign to get rid of their leader and all the Greens will be pre-occupied with that, so they won’t be at all ready for the next round of elections when they are announced,” Percy declared.
“Do you think the Reds will also suffer the same fate?” Bindu asked.
“Well,” Percy said, “if the Reds split into any more groups, they will be so small that no one will be able to recognise them anymore.”
“So, thaaththa,” Bindu observed, “it looks like only the Greens and the Reds will have problems with these elections.”
“Of course not,” Percy said, “the Blues have their share of problems too.”
“And what problems are those?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Why, Bindu,” Percy pointed out, “the Blues have their own problems such as who should be picked as candidates and who should be nominees for Chief Minister.”
“But I am sure those are not such serious issues because they will be able to win the elections anyway,” Bindu said.
“Well,” Percy said, “they may not seem like serious problems for you and me but for those involved they can be as important as life and death.”
“But I hope it doesn’t mean that more people are killed on the streets when two groups of the Blue party begin to shoot at each other a day before the elections,” Bindu declared.
“I am not so sure we can guarantee that,” Percy said, “but we are a democracy and because of that we have to have more and more elections.”
“And,” Bindu observed, “in this democracy of ours, it seems as if you can fool all the people all the time.”
That is indeed what is happening now, Percy thought to himself.

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