5th Column

Spotlight on baby

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My dear Namal baby,

I thought of writing to you this week after hearing these stories about an unpaid electricity bill, with you being portrayed as someone who doesn’t even pay his bills. You will agree that this is probably not the best publicity you can get, but your replies to this have left us even more confused.

To be honest, Namal baby, we have been quite confused even before all this fuss about your electricity bill because of some statements you made recently. They make us wonder whether you have even a small fraction of your father’s charming political skills despite being his eldest son.

We recall you saying a few months ago, that those who were involved in the ‘aragalaya’ should be ‘rehabilitated’ as they suffered from some sort of mental health issue. I do not know which planet you are living in, Namal baby, but do you remember the kind of people who supported the ‘aragalaya’?

You were in hiding in Trincomalee at the height of the ‘aragalaya’ but before that, you must have seen the artistes, sports personalities, academics, professionals and other celebrities who endorsed the ‘aragalaya’. So, when you say they need rehabilitation, we wonder whether it is you who needs that?

Recently, you made an even more mind-boggling claim. You said people advising your Gota baappa to switch to organic fertiliser were also ‘aragalaya’ conspirators. Namal baby, unless your memory is failing you, switching to organic fertiliser was one of Gota baappa’s major election promises.

Even you endorsed it wholeheartedly at that time. The proposal was made by a doctor who was a trade union leader, who was also masquerading as an expert on matters related to agriculture. Are you suggesting that he first conspired to bring Gota baappa into office and then plotted his downfall?

Having heard you make such statements in the last few months, Namal baby, we shouldn’t be surprised at what you have been saying about your electricity bill. However, even by the low standards you have set for yourself recently, your excuses for what has happened appear ridiculous.

First, you say that neither you nor Mahinda maama has received any such bill. You argue, quite correctly it would seem at first glance, that without receiving a bill you couldn’t be paying it. However, you then go on to say that the request for the electricity was made by the Defence Ministry.

That is where you have let the cat out of the bag, Namal baby. What you are saying is that it is quite alright for the Defence Ministry to pay the bill because it was they who requested extra lights as a security measure for Mahinda maama who was, after all, attending his son’s wedding at his home.

Did you not hear what the people said during the ‘aragalaya’, Namal baby? They were sick and tired of politicians sucking the lifeblood out of this country, engaging in bribery and corruption and abuse of power, while enjoying the privileges of power when the masses continued suffering.

That is why they called for a ‘system change’. Yet, here you are, aspiring to be the leader of the country one distant day, telling us that it is quite reasonable for the Defence Ministry to pay electricity bills for Mahinda maama when he attends a family function because it is for ‘security reasons’!

Your next comments are priceless. You say that you will pay the bill, even if there is no such bill sent to you, if it results in the electricity crisis in the country being solved and all temples receiving electricity. No, Namal baby, that is not why people want you to settle this particular electricity bill.

No one is stupid enough to think the electricity crisis will be solved when you settle that bill. No one, not even Sajith, believes all the temples in the country can be given electricity if you pay that bill. People are more intelligent than that. They want you to pay the bill because you used that electricity.

That is because most people are not afforded the leniency of waiting for four years before they can settle their electricity bill. Instead, they will have their electricity cut off. What they are seeing here is that this didn’t happen to you because of who you are – and that is exactly what they are angry about.

Namal baby, first we were a nation where the Prime Minister’s job was handed down from father to son and later, from mother to daughter. Opinion is divided as to whether that was beneficial. Now we are in an era where the President’s job could be passed on from father to son, not once but even twice.

There also seems to be a peculiar reason that being a President’s son makes these offspring sensitive to electricity bills. There is a significant difference though: One desperately wants to pay other peoples’ bills and win some votes while the other doesn’t want pay even his own and loses votes.

Anyway, I think the person who will be happiest about all this will be Sajith. All this time, whatever he did, his judgment was questioned and most people thought that he was as bad as being a President’s son could get. Now, though you have come along and taken that title, Namal baby!

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS – Somewhere in this discussion , Namal Baby, I heard you mention a third child. More Rajapaksas the merrier is it? With the Rajapaksas already having a set of four brothers, the dynasty seems ready for another generation of Rajapaksa siblings again! Is the country ready, we shall wait and see.



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