Balcony Keheliya, Bond Ravi and Gota

Go out on your own and get the votes

My dear Gota

,

I thought I must write to you, even though you must be quite busy these days, having to criss-cross the country on the campaign trail with Mahinda maama following you closely — so much so that it seems as if, like in the old nursery rhyme, ‘everywhere that Mahinda maama went, you are sure to go’!

Gota, you do need to go out and about a bit on your own, if you want people to vote for you. They must feel that you are the one campaigning instead of having Mahinda maama shadow you, every time you attend a rally or when he tries to answer a difficult question that is put to you.

I also hope, Gota, that you were given a clean bill of health when you went for that check-up in Singapore. No one grudges you that, of course, but we also hope that, if and when you become the boss, every Sri Lankan will be able to fly over to Singapore to have their medical check-ups!

Gota, there seems to be a lot to do with the armed forces and the Army in particular in your campaign. Now, that is hardly surprising because you were an ex-army man, a year junior to the Field Marshal, when you were in uniform. Still, you need to be careful regarding what you say about the military.

To begin with, you made this promise that you will free all ‘war heroes’ who are held on false charges on the morning of November 17. That might be music to the ears of some people in custody but, for most people, it raises a lot of questions about how you would act if you do become the boss.

Firstly, you need to make sure that you have at least taken oaths by the 17th morning because Maco says the results will be available only on the 18th. Remember the trouble Mahinda maama got in to recently for signing your Dual Citizenship certificate five days after taking oaths as the big boss?

Then, aren’t these people you call ‘war heroes’ in prison because they have been found guilty of some offence, Gota? And doesn’t that mean that they have been through a trial and have received a punishment for what they did? So, will you be disregarding all that and just letting them free?

Now, we know that when Mahinda maama was in charge, the most famous war hero of them all, the Field Marshal who was then a General was unceremoniously bundled away from his office, court-martialled and put in prison, so you want to do the exact opposite this time, do you, Gota?

Speaking of the Field Marshal, just the other day, you made a very interesting remark. At your first media conference you were put on the spot when you were asked about the war and about missing persons. You appeared to pass the buck saying that the Army was led by the Army Commander.

Why that is interesting, Gota, is because all these days we were told that you were the brains behind the war victory and the person who made it possible after three decades. It was almost as if you were giving all the orders and the Army Commander was merely the person carrying out those orders.

Gota, if you are not shy to take all the credit for the war victory, shouldn’t you also take responsibility for the more challenging aspects of that victory? Or, have you taken a leaf out of Aiyo Sirisena’s book already, taking credit for everything that went well and blaming someone else for what went wrong?

While on the subject of Army Commanders, there is this controversy about Shavendra endorsing you in some advertisements. Now, we know that he was always your blue-eyed boy from the days when he served under you but it is not quite right for a current commander to openly back a candidate.

What was interesting was your spokesman, Balcony Keheliya’s saying he didn’t know who placed those advertisements and therefore was not responsible for them. You have borrowed a trick from Bond Ravi who said he didn’t know who paid for his house and wasn’t therefore responsible for that!

Despite these hiccups, you must be happy at the way things are going your way: one court dismissed the dual citizenship case, another stopped hearing on the ‘museum’ case, the Blues have joined you unconditionally and last week Elpitiya delivered the verdict you wanted. What more can you ask for?

Still, I would be cautious if I were you, Gota. Young Sajith, unlike the Green Man, has a following and there is still exactly four weeks to go in a game where they say that a week is a very long time. We wish you well because we want a healthy contest, so that the best person is able to lead the nation.

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS- Talking of releasing prisoners who are ‘war heroes’ on the morning of the 17th, must have given hope to a lot of people. Can you give us a solemn promise, Gota, that if you win, young Duminda will not be given a pardon and released from prison?