Malli is missing outView(s):
My dear Basil,
I thought of writing to you when I saw you in the news, saying something you have never said before. You said you were prepared to forego your citizenship in America if it allowed you to remain in active politics in Paradise. That means contesting elections and holding public office.
No wonder they say that a week is a long time in politics. Just Look at what a difference a few months has made for you. Around May last year, the ‘aragalaya’ was in full swing. You were seen as the villain in the economic crisis because you were the one in charge of the State’s purse strings.
By June, matters got worse for you. By that time, your Gota maama had appointed Uncle Ranil as PM and you had quit as Finance Minister. Still, many identified you as being responsible for the queues for fuel and gas. You were ridiculed and hounded out with chants of ‘kaputu kaak, kaak kaak’!
We recall how you tried, unsuccessfully, to leave Paradise at the height of the crisis, after Mahinda maama was bundled into safety at a Navy camp in Trincomalee and Gota maama escaped the wrath of those who stormed President’s House by fleeing to the Maldives.
Immigration officers at the airport prevented you from leaving the country. Maybe they thought that you should be held to account for some of the claims being made against you.
Anyway, Basil, looking back at how events eventually turned out for you and the ‘R’ clan over the past few months, I don’t think you could have planned it this way, even if you wanted to. Correct me if I am wrong, but Gota maama is sick of politics and wants out, but the other ‘Rs’ are still in the fray.
Then, you have another ‘R’ holding the fort for you until the big election is held at the end of next year. You couldn’t have picked a better ‘nightwatchman’ to frustrate the opposition.
For you, it was a masterstroke to ask the ‘pohottuwa’ chaps to vote for Uncle Ranil in the Green camp instead of Dullas from the ‘pohottuwa’s own ranks. You are now openly saying that you made the correct choice. Even Mahinda maama said Uncle Ranil has mended his ways and is on the right track.
Uncle Ranil has kept his part of the bargain. That is why we have a government that is ‘udin Ranil, yatin Basil’ (apparently run by Ranil but really run by Basil). As you rightly point out, there are no more queues and the troublemakers of the ‘aragalaya’ are behind bars. What more can you ask for?
Of course, Uncle Ranil can be stubborn at times. That is why he is avoiding your requests for ministries for the likes of Mahindananda, Johnston and Rohitha and postpones the appointment of a full Cabinet. Instead, he doles out Cabinet posts every now and then, just as he did with Pavithra.
Your bond with him is so strong that you are now contesting on the same list for the local elections, becoming the laughing stock of the country. You know, Uncle Ranil knows and we know that yours is a marriage of convenience. When your interests don’t coincide, you will go your separate ways.
That is why your statement that you will forego your American citizenship if you can return to elected office is intriguing. You can’t be in politics now because of what they call the ‘Basil clause’ in the 21st Amendment, which was also in the 19th Amendment. They were both introduced by Uncle Ranil.
You must have given this matter some thought, Basil, but have you had a chat with Gota maama? Ask him how it feels to remain in Paradise, being banned from visiting some countries, given only short stays in other countries and not even being able visit your own children because they live in America?
If you are taking such a drastic decision, we assume you are not doing so simply to become a Member of Parliament for the Gampaha District. Surely, for such a sacrifice to be worth your while, you must aspire for the top job itself, just like Gota maama did. Ah, imagine three brothers doing the same job!
You say that you wish to return because you cannot watch us, the people, suffering. What a noble thought indeed! You were looking after our finances when we landed in this mess. So, are you saying that if you weren’t in charge, our plight would have been worse? Try telling that to the people, Basil.
Then there is also the small matter of having to win an election to get that top job. We know you are quite good at masterminding election wins but the way the race is being run now, the telephone chaps and the ‘maalimaawa’ appear to be streets ahead of the Greens and the ‘pohottuwa’ put together.
A few months ago, if we were told yet another ‘R’ would rule us, that would have been dismissed as being impossible. Now, your clan is back in action and making bold statements, so who knows what could happen next year? After all, we are a nation where most of the people can be fooled all the time!
PS: I thought the ‘deal’ was for Uncle Ranil to hold the fort, have a proper tilt at the top job next year with the pohottuwa’s blessings and carry Namal baby across the bridge in 2029? I hate to be the one causing family discord but, if you throw your hat in the ring now, Basil, won’t it upset those plans?