Bicycaley… Bicycaley…
Posted on March 23rd, 2018


Some politicians own only a push bicycle when they come to politics, but later obtain Benz cars. Don’t think of becoming such politicians.- Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

This was the Prime Minister’s advice to the newly elected UNP members of the Colombo Municipal Council. Looks like he wants them to remain bicycle politicians, and not come anywhere near the privileged politicos of parliament.

Ranil W is one who knows the ride in politics. He is one who did not begin politics on a bicycle. He always had a car, long before coming to the vote game from Biyagama, and proceeding to Colombo West. He is part of the car-owning ‘politocracy’ of this country, and must never be thought of as a bicycle owner who rode to big car politics.

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But his message to the new UNP councilors gives the impression that he does not want any of them to rise to, or reach the level of Members of Parliament – the Diyawanna Theatre is certainly not their playhouse.

Isn’t it strange that Ranil W should have such contempt for the Benz (Jaguar. BMW, or even Rolls Royce) politicians? It is his government that has proposed and passed so many Supplementary Estimates for the import of luxury cars for MPs – of whatever category – whether Cabinet, State or Deputy Ministers or just plain MPs. Has the PM ever made any criticism of the vehicles that are provided – duty-free, too – to his parliamentary colleagues? Never.

In fact, it was PM Ranil who even proposed the payment of R. 100,000 per month to every MP being the cost of managing their electorate offices. No one had raised questions about the cost of such offices, and one does not know how such expenses are explained.

Ranil has made it clear that he is all for the stuff of parliamentary privilege, when such privilege is for the financial benefit and the travelling comfort of its members. Let’s not forget that it was a Cabinet Minister elected by the UNFront who said that luxury cars are needed by MPs to visit their electorates.

The PMs advise to newly elected councillors of local bodies has only warned them against rising from a bicycle to a Benz. He has not warned them about the many other profitable aspects of politics today. What about commissions, what about crooked promotions, what about misusing the finances of local bodies, what about dirty profiteering?

Of course, Ranil has told the new councillors to play their part in keeping the city clean, ensure removal of garbage, and also fight Dengue. Very valuable advise no doubt, but will they really do any of this if they are to remain as Bicycle Councillors, and don’t have a chance to move up to a car or two (if not a Benz or two), from the profits that come their way through public service? We are talking about a world of licenses and permits in local administration, where commissions and other payoffs are part of the crooked operations.

Ranil W has a record of 40 years in parliamentary politics, having his fourth term as Prime Minister. He is obviously a master of the crooked game of politics that is the stuff of governance today. It is possible that his cautioning against Bicycle to Benz Politics had something to do with the No Confidence Motion about his record as PM.

He certainly could not take the risk of antagonizing the UNP and other pro-UNP politicos who are expected to vote for him, and against the NCM. He must know that most of them are Benz and other luxury vehicle politicos, and hardly any with bicycle beginnings. He must give them the assurance of always supporting the privileges of legislative corruption.

In confining this advice to the new local councillors, he would also have thought of not hurting the luxury vehicle and other occupational crookedness of those from the Joint Opposition and SLFP, who are for the NCM against him. He can’t be so foolish as to hurt the corrupt politicos of the last regime, who were so well protected by the UNP’s former Minister of Justice and former Minister of Law and Order. Let’s wait and see what the present L & O Minister would do.

Ranil is the man of the Bicycle Moment in politics. He will have nothing to say of the Treasury Bond Scam or Arjuna Mahendran. Those are far beyond the politics of the Benz. He is planning his own PM’s luxury car ride to defeat the NCM against him, to the cheers of the bicycle riding, green shirt masses. Much reduced by Pohottuva, but very much bigger than the Blue shirt supporters of his Presidential rival.

He must be singing that lovely old Sinhala song –Bicycaley, Bicycaley….duppath apage Bicycaley!

One Response to “Bicycaley… Bicycaley…”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    This beautiful song was sung to fame, by my lovable late friend and colleague at BCC, Vincent De Paul Peris. He also used to sing, NAMO MARIYANEE, amongst other popular songs at get-togethers. **VINCENT** where ever you are, your voice is indelible in our hearts.

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