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The Fifth Column

22nd November 1998

Fuss over original people

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Friday - Everybody is celebrating the fourth anniversary of my assumption of office. Even I am happy because I didn't think we could get this far with such a thin majority in Parliament. Someone told me I should send a "Thank You" card to Ranil for helping me survive, but I resisted the temptation. Some ministers seem to think that I lasted this long because of them, but I hinted that our progress has been despite them and not due to them. Of course, people like Jeyaraj and Seeni Bola were not amused....

Saturday - Ever since we decided to scrap the increase in railway fares from the Budget proposals, Ronnie and the others are criticizing us. This has never happened before, they say, and they are probably correct. I now think we probably did the wrong thing by listening to Fowzie; we should have increased the fares and let Fowzie resign if he wanted to, because he will never do that. Now, even though I took all the credit for preparing the Budget, I must ask GL to take all the blame when things start to go wrong. He is very good at that.

Sunday - The newspapers are making a big noise about what I said in South Africa about the Tamil community not being original people of this country. The Black Prince Kumar is trying to get maximum mileage out of this issue. Kadi asked me whether I said so and I said, so what? After all even Vijaya was not from the original people though he charmed Kuveni. Even Bill Clinton is not among the original people of America. If we are thinking of making the original people of this country our leaders, we will have to make Tisahamy the President of the country.

Monday - They say Velu put up his headquarters in South Africa, so sent Kadi to talk to Mandela. Kadi says everything is settled but I am not so sure. The South Africans have issued a vague statement but how can we trust Mandela, a man who was himself a rebel? Anyway the newspapers here are making it look like South Africa has banned the Tigers. Mangala sure knows how to spin a story.

Tuesday - That fellow Galappaththy has fainted while speaking in Parliament and I heard he was rushed to hospital. I hope he is out of danger, but if one were to look at it positively, you could say that it is one vote less for those trying to defeat the Budget at the vote. After all, he collapsed while criticizing the Budget.

Wednesday - So, they passed the Budget after all, with a comfortable majority of thirty six votes. I must thank Douglas and his buddies for voting with us despite pressure. I must remember him when I next reshuffle the Cabinet. And surprise, surprise, guess who voted with us? Srimani of all people, of course. That doesn't necessarily mean I would keep her in mind when I next change the ministers. However I shall definitely teach Neelan's boys a lesson for trying to rock the boat. Now, with everything settled for the time being I must really go away for a vacation.

Rajpal Abeynayake's Column

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