It’s a family issue

Sunday Times Satire

My dear Mahinda maama,

I thought of writing to you after seeing and hearing you at the big tamasha last week to introduce your malli, Gota, as the candidate of the ‘pohottuwa’ party at the next big election for the top job. It was impressive as an evening of entertainment rather than a political event, with more songs than slogans!

Mahinda maama, for several months, you had kept us wondering as to who the ‘pohottuwa’ candidate would be. Of course, everyone thought it would be Gota but you didn’t give us a straight answer, and kept us guessing, saying only that you will choose the person who was most likely to win.

It is not as if you had much of a choice. You couldn’t run for a fourth time because Aiyo Sirisena got together with the Greens and passed that amendment to the Constitution. They thought they had also blocked Gota malli and Basil malli by changing the law so that dual citizens couldn’t contest.

The rascals that they were, they also raised the lower age limit by five years so young Namal baby couldn’t run, at least for this time. I am sure you weren’t very happy about that because if he could, you could have kept it neatly within your family and Shiranthi would have been very happy.

There is also Chamal aiya but he is closer to eighty years than he is to seventy. Besides, being the mild-mannered gentleman that he is, it was clear that he was more interested in having a nice and easy retirement job in his old age rather than take on the rough and tumble of what will be a nasty election.

What you were really left with was a choice between Gota malli and Basil malli who were citizens of Trump land. Basil was clearly the smarter politician among the two but the problem was, for all his patriotic fervour about rebuilding our Paradise, he wasn’t willing to let go of Uncle Sam’s citizenship.

So, your choice was limited to choosing Gota or passing the baton to a respected outsider like Dinesh. After all, it is not your style to groom a second tier leadership. That was why Aiyo Sirisena betrayed you four years ago. While you and your clan were around, he knew he would never get to the top.

Besides, you waited patiently for over fifty years to take over the Blue party. Old SWRD may have formed it with the best intentions but it ended up being a party of the ‘B’s for half a century. Believe me, if Satellite had offspring who were interested in politics, you wouldn’t be where you are today!

Your idea was to keep the Blues as a party of the ‘R’s for at least the next fifty years. It was heading in that direction when you passed that amendment allowing you to contest as many times as you like. That was when Aiyo Sirisena joined the Greens and upset all your carefully laid plans.

Then you did the next best thing. You got Basil malli to form a party of your own. It is impressive that it is being spoken of as an alternative government within such a short time, pushing the Blues into a distant third place. For that, though, you have to thank the rash words and deeds of Aiyo Sirisena.

Mahinda maama, having done all the hard work, I think you should just ignore those who ask whether the ‘pohottuwa’ party is only a party for the ‘R’ family. Of course, it is. The sooner everyone realises that, the better it is. Or else, some of those in the party might also become unduly ambitious!

What happens next, if Gota malli does win? You have hinted that under the present system, the big boss is not really the big boss and that his second-in-command has many powers. We too saw that happen last October when Aiyo Sirisena lost his marbles and tried to oust the Green Man.

Being the great democrat that you are, you have not only chosen Gota malli as the candidate for your party, you have also appointed yourself as his PM, just in case he wins. I suppose Chamal aiya and Namal baby will then be ministers, though Basil won’t be in Parliament because he is a dual citizen.

When we saw both of you last Sunday, the difference was clear. You were in your element, wooing the crowds and loving every moment. Gota malli, on the other hand, seemed stiff and ill at ease. This was not a military parade where all stood to attention and saluted him. So, you will need to guide him.

The next few months are crucial, Mahinda maama. Your place in the history of Paradise is assured as the leader who ended the Eelam war. What you now want is to ensure that the ‘R’s become the Royal family of this land and remain that way for as long as they can. Well, good luck with that!

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS- Basil tells us that we shouldn’t be afraid of Gota malli. The fact that he feels the need to reassure us about that is worrying. Still, the real question for you, Mahinda maama, is not whether we are afraid of Gota malli but whether, in ten years’ time, Namal baby will still be afraid of his baappa?