Fifth Column

7th October 2001

A guessing game for the blues and greens

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My Dear Rauf,

I thought of writing to you because you are in the news again, winning court cases and declaring that you will not reveal who you would support in the No-Confidence motion until voting time.

Of course, Rauf I am sure that Satellite remembers very well that it was you who started this whole no-confidence business by threatening to walk out of the Cabinet, eventually forcing her to sack you. So, in a sense today she is stuck with a 'probationary' government with the reds breathing down her neck with only half her Cabinet because of you.

There are many who disagree with you on the way you behaved before that- demanding specific Cabinet portfolios for yourself and other jobs and diplomatic postings for your henchmen. Those were not democratic actions and even your late leader would have blushed at your arrogance then.

Then you got together with the greens and began criticising everything that Satellite did when it looked as if the greens would have their way and win the no-confidence vote. But somehow, Satellite managed to wriggle out of that tight corner, thanks to the prorogation of Parliament and the help of her brother.

Now that the reds have come to help her carry on for another year and the greens themselves are not sure of their numbers you seem to be changing colour again and making noises suggesting that you would support whoever that forms a government of National Reconciliation- whatever that means.

And then you go to Kandy and declare that your support for the no-confidence motion will be kept a secret until the last moment. So, it is very clear that you want to keep both the greens and blues guessing until the eleventh hour, enabling you to get the maximum for your demands.

I agree that all is fair in love, war and politics, Rauf but you must also remember that when you behave in such an unprincipled manner both the greens and blues will give into your demands only until they have to- the moment they can do without you, they will get rid of you and as we all know, Satellite is an expert in this 'karapincha' treatment.

And remember, Satellite is already threatening to introduce changes to the election laws that will minimise the effect of minority parties and if that happens all you will be left with is a few seats and nothing else!

Of course, we do know you as someone who doesn't keep his promises because we remember only too well how you threatened to resign from the Cabinet if those independent commissions were not set up- but you never kept that promise and it was ultimately left to the reds to force Satellite to do the honours.

Anyway, be careful, Rauf. We know that yours is not an easy job having to deal with not one but two 'saree potas' and maybe you should settle the battle within your party first before embarking on more ambitious plans.

So, we must wish you best of luck because you will need it in the future!

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha.

PS- By the way, if you ever run out of issues to stir up support for your cause, you could always issue a statement supporting Osama bin Laden.

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