The baton was passed on, let’s see if they will win the relay
Posted on October 16th, 2019

M. Ravi Hewa

My dear Green Man,

I thought I must write to you, now that you are free from the burden of campaigning and being a candidate.

That must be a big change for you as you have been at the forefront of all the Green campaigns for the past twenty-five years, even if most of them were not very successful.

It would be interesting if you could let us know what prompted you to finally pass the baton on to young Sajith. After all, right until the last minute, you still wanted to contest and the chances are that if you put the decision to just the Green Working Committee, they would have endorsed you anyway.

Was it the possibility that even the Working Committee might have dumped you and opted for Sajith,

though it consists of people hand-picked by you? You do realize that people who you had helped in the Green party – like Mangala and Malik, for example – have switched loyalties to Sajith, don’t you?

Or, is it a feeling that Sajith may not make it in the end? We know you are quite clever at passing the buck when it suits you which is why you gave the then General the chance nine years ago and then chose Aiyo Sirisena to run the race four years ago, although that didn’t work out as planned.

Green Man, it was interesting to hear all those who backed you and worked against Sajith- those like Bond Ravi and the revengeful Akila- get on stage at Galle Face the other day and sing his praises. I hope they mean what they say and they are not secretly hoping that Sajith would lose the race.

If there is one man who shouldn’t complain about Sajith being given a chance, that is you, Green Man. You have had more than your fair share of chances in the past twenty-five years and in that decisive period for our country, you were unable to get the Greens to govern on their own even once.

You inherited a party that was ruling with a five-sixths majority from your uncle. Even when Sajith’s father died, the Greens were still strong although a little unpopular. Under your watch, however, you allowed first Satellite and then Mahinda maama to steal your stalwarts and gradually gain control.

You may have been unlucky every now and then – such as when Prabha ordered a boycott of the big election the first time Mahinda maama ran for office – but it is also true that whenever you had the chance, you didn’t make the most of it, allowingthe Blues to steal power away from the Greens.

Make no mistake, Green Man, the worst period under your leadership was the past four years when AiyoSirisena ran riot, behavingas if he was looking after a Grama Niladhari division instead of a country. You must take part of the blame for that because it was you who put him in that position.

That was not all. You also allowed those who were accused of corruption on a massive scale to go scot-free, without inquiring into their activities efficiently. Now, they are going around the country saying they have done nothing wrong, simply because you haven’t proved anything against them.

Adding insult to injury was the bond scam in the big bank a few months after you took over, hiring your Singaporean friend as the bank’s Governor. Bond Ravi is still an important person in the Green camp, so you can’t accuse others of corruption now. You have also lost your ‘Mr. Clean’ label.

There was a brief glimmer of hope for you when AiyoSirisena lost his marbles on the night in October last year, sacked you and appointed Mahinda maama as PM. People rallied against that move because it was undemocratic but you misinterpreted that, believing it was a massive vote of confidence in you.

Some people are still saying that regardless of who wins the big race in November, you will be PM because Parliament cannot be dissolved until next year. I hope you are not naïve enough to believe that. Whoever wins, MPs will ‘jump’ to the winning side and you might soon be out of a job!

Green Man, this week we heard you say that you, Sampanthan seeya and Mahinda maama are still in politics because there is no retirement age. You entered Parliament at the age of twenty-eight and have been there ever since so why are you saying this now? Ah, wisdom comes late to some people!

Despite those forty-two years in Parliament you have always been second best and never had the top job. Now that you have passed the baton to Sajith, the baby elephant, I hope you won’t try to take it back, regardless of what happens in November. That is the best you can do for the Greens.

Just as your uncle allowed Sajith’s father to prosper, and just as we saw you guiding Sajith’s mother at the convention the other day, we hope you will guide him too. If you really want to help him, you could also ask Maithree to give a few tips to Sajith’s better half about what to do and what not to do!

Yours truly, Punchi Putha

PS- The results at Elpitiya don’t look good for the ali petiya or baby elephant, but a lot can happen in the next thirty-five days. Also, as our cricketers showed us three times last week, sometimes the most unexpected things happen when those who have been sidelined are at last given a chance!

M. Ravi Hewa.

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