My dear Sajith, I thought I must write to you this week even as you try to cover the entire country in a few weeks while campaigning for the big race. It must be a difficult task, especially when you are up against the entire ‘R’ family, the blues and the purples, not to mention [...]

5th Column

Some food for thought for new Green man


My dear Sajith,

I thought I must write to you this week even as you try to cover the entire country in a few weeks while campaigning for the big race. It must be a difficult task, especially when you are up against the entire ‘R’ family, the blues and the purples, not to mention even a few Greens who don’t like you.

It would have been ideal if you had a little more time to prepare yourself but your nomination came only at the last minute. However, you must be thankful for small mercies; if not for a change of heart at the eleventh hour, it could still have been the Green Man running the race for the Greens!

You were a young man in your early twenties at that time but when your father ran the same race, he probably faced tougher conditions. The Greens had been in power for twelve years and people were getting tired of them. Besides, as he himself said, the country was on fire at both ends then.

Issues are not dissimilar now, are they? Even though the Greens have been in charge for only four and a half years (and not totally in charge too, because Aiyo Sirisena was running amok like a bull in a china shop), you have nothing to show for it except a big bank robbery and terrible terror attack.

Many forget the fact that there is some democracy and freedom in Paradise now. Judges are able to take their own decisions without being impeached, as we found out this time last year, when Aiyo Sirisena staged that little circus of his, sacking the Green Man and appointing Mahinda maama.

Anyone — including newspapers, television stations, Mahanayakes, Cardinals and armchair critics on social media–are free to defame everyone else without being abducted by a white van. Sadly, that is about the only positive ‘achievement’ that you can point to, over the past four and a half years.

So, Sajith, as you go about your task of trying to persuade people to vote for you, you will need to keep a few things in mind. Firstly, for people to vote for you will need to convince them that you are different to the Greens who ran the show for the past few years and that yours will be a new regime.

To do so, you will have to make sure that the leading lights of this Green regime take a back seat. If you can, you should ask those like the Green Man, Bond Ravi, Lucky and even that Akila chap to keep a low profile, even though those like Bond Ravi are scrambling to get into your good books now.

Then, people are asking who your PM will be. The ‘pohottuwa’ chaps are making a fuss and saying that if you win, it will still be the Green Man. You haven’t confirmed or denied that. Even if you can’t say who it will be, could you let the voters know whether it would be the Green Man or not, Sajith?

Gota’s main argument is that he will keep the country safe again. It was a good move to say that you will give that task to the Field Marshall. However, you will need to ensure that he doesn’t go around saying too much because, although he may be the ‘best Army commander’ he is not the best politician!

It was smart of you to challenge Gota to a debate. You can be sure that he won’t accept that challenge. Still, I don’t think that it is enough to talk about building houses, giving uniforms and meals to school children and reducing poverty. Things are different now to when your father ran the big race, Sajith.

You haven’t told us whether you will get rid of your job- although Gota hasn’t either. You haven’t told us what your thoughts are about the ‘ethnic’ issue. You haven’t said how you would deal with the rest of the world- and Gota is taking a hard-line on these issues and trying to win votes in the South.

Having the likes of Rauff, Rishad and Sampanthan seeya on your side will get you some votes, especially in the North and East. Still, that will come at the cost of losing votes in the South because Gota’s chaps are going around saying the Easter bombers are with you. You will need to counter that.

Portraying yourself as the common man’s man is good but I am not sure whether that will be enough. You are up against a formidable rival and you need to offer something special- like your father’s Janasaviya- to capture the imagination of the masses- after all, voters in Paradise are a gullible lot!

You have a lot to do in the next few weeks. We hope that you will be able to offer something that is different to what the Greens have been offering for the last twenty-five years and, on the other side, what one family has been offering as an alternative. Then we can decide what is best for Paradise.

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS- Vasantha, the great grandson of the Father of the Nation has said he won’t support you. He is the chap who ran to Mahinda maama to become a minister under him. I wouldn’t worry about him. You are much better off without him- just as much as Gota would have been better off without Wijedasa!

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