The Fifth Column

13th April 1997

A significant development

Wednesday - Kadi wants me to miss the Cabinet meeting, because he says there will be too many questions about this impending “agreement” with Ranil. Kadi is confident it will work out well though I can’t see why Ranil would agree to anything I suggest, after all the things I have said of him.

Thursday - Signed the “agreement” with Ranil. Kadi insists on calling it an “exchange of letters” though I told him I am past the age of exchanging letters with anybody! Thankfully, there was no signing ceremony where we had to hug each other after signing and pose for pictures. I just signed the letter and gave it to Kadi and I guess Ranil did the same.

Friday - Amma is angry because she didn’t know about the agreement. Well, I didn’t tell her because I thought Ranil will tell Mallo and Mallo will tell her. Why, that’s the way all UNP secrets come to us, anyway (and, come to think of it, that must be the way all our secrets go to the UNP too! And, I was suspecting Asitha for telling Ishini everything, all these days!)

Saturday - Poor GL has returned from South Africa, looks a bit embarrassed with all these stories about what a great agreement this was and how GL, the architect of the Devolution Package didn’t know anything about it. I had to tell him that everything happened so quickly and that I didn’t pack him off to South Africa on purpose. He was not convinced, I could see, from that stiff lower lip of his.

Sunday - Mangala wants to have a snap general election. He says we would increase our parliamentary majority and then, stop depending on people like Thonda and Srimani. I told him that Thonda is useless now and Srimani will join Ranil at the next elections, anyway. And, whatever happens at the general election, I would be the boss.

Monday - Had to do the difficlt job of naming mayors and UC chairmen of all those local bodies. Ashraff is a real pain in the neck at times — insisting that his candidates who got the highest preferences should be named as chairmen. I felt like telling him it was easy to field just one or two candidates and then get a high number of preferences. But then, I can’t do without his support, can I?

Tuesday - I want to go to Nuwara Eliya for the holidays. Bala tells me I have to inform Ranil about my holiday plans. I asked him why. He says that the “agreement “ says that I should “seek the opinion of the leader of the UNP on significant developments relating to the ethnic conflict”. He thinks that, since I could be “bumped-off” while on holiday it would be a “significant development”. Gosh, to think that I sent Bala to negotiate with Prabha.

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