Fifth Column

25th March  2001

Budget through by a whisker

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My Dear Satellite,

I thought of writing to you when I heard that you had gone on yet another of your European trips while the rest of Sri Lanka is suffering in silence. Of course I must say that we see pictures of you almost every day with the high and mighty of those countries, all impressed by your charming smile and saree pota!

Satellite, you may have heard by now that the Green Man planned to defeat the Budget in Parliament. Just in case you are not aware of it, the second reading was passed last week with a majority of nine votes, even with Kadi being overseas, travelling alongside you.

But what disturbed me was that the majority was a mere nine votes, a hundred and fifteen to a hundred and six, Satellite. And that means that if only five of your 'honourable' members decide to vote the other way, that would be the beginning of the end for your 'aanduwa'.

Because of that, you have to be careful, Satellite. Why that nearly happened last week when Seeni Bola tried to settle the dispute with Thonda (Jnr.) and threatening him with removal from the Cabinet!

Tell me Satellite, does Seeni Bola really think that just because he is the general secretary he can dictate terms to ministers and talk about sacking them? He is certainly getting too big for his boots.

Then, there is that other chap, Batty who is trying to live up to his name. I suppose he doesn't realize that you gave him that portfolio only because you wanted to snub the Professor- but then Batty thinks he was given the job because he was the better man for it!

And so, he starts publicly accusing almost everybody except you of bribery and corruption. Not done, isn't it? You and I know that these things happen, and they should be hushed up and swept under the carpet, shouldn't they? But then again, he is Batty, so what can you do about it?

Then, Satellite, I think you should have a word or two with your dearly beloved brother also. We know his job is to speak, but he is doing that rather too often. Now he is punishing the state television networks for calling that chap Vijamoo an 'Andare'. Why don't you tell him that he is being given a brand new palace by the Diyawanna lake- even before you get yours- just to mind his own business. Or else, who knows, he might even think of entertaining an impeachment motion against you!

Anyway, Satellite, the good news is that Prabha keeps on extending his generous ceasefire just like our Army which keeps on extending the deadline for deserters. At least, there haven't been any suicide bombers in these parts recently, so you can return whenever you feel like it!

Yours truly, Punchi Putha.

PS- If you are thinking of increasing the price of paan, parippu, gas or anything else, you will have to get someone to do it within the next few days: the English team is on tour and while they are here Public Enemy No.1 is no longer you, it is a chap called B. C. Cooray! 

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