03 December 2014

The Chandrika-Ranil Talks

This happened a couple of weeks ago.  In a parallel universe.  Just got the transcript.  Here’s the background: Chandrika Kumaratunga and Ranil Wickremesinghe were discussing the presidential election, possible candidates, likely coalition partners and what not.  It was early morning (that’s 11 am for CBK). She sipped tea.  Ranil had black coffee.  They didn’t exactly talk about old times. 

‘I want my party back!’ CBK was forthright. 

‘You mean you want to party?’ Ranil chuckled. 

‘You know what I mean.  I want Maithri to win.  Once that happens and the executive presidency is scrapped, I can contest.  I can take over the party.’

‘Ambitious, ambitious!’ Ranil pointed out, and elaborated, ‘it doesn’t work that way, haven’t you read the constitution?  Let’s say Maithri wins.  On the 8th of January he is just another candidate, on the 9th he will be Executive President.  He will call the shots.  You will see every little twerp in the SLFP including those who are with Mahinda falling at Maithri’s feet.  Why on earth should they even bother about you?’

‘Because I am a Bandaranaike, that’s why,’ the lady was confident. 


‘By the way, how do you see yourself in all this?’

‘Obviously I know that I can’t beat Mahinda.  In fact you can’t beat him either.  I think that’s something everyone knows.  I feel that something radical has happened in our society.  Our time is over.  I mean, people like you and I just can’t make ourselves look like ordinary people.’

‘Rubbish!  People are still serfs.  Look at Maithri.  He was being so deferential to me even when I was extremely condescending.  The same goes for you.  He calls you “sir”.  He needs us.’

‘Everyone needs everyone in that case.  When there’s an election, you don’t want to upset anyone.  He probably believed that you would deliver 40 MPs from the SLFP.’

‘Twenty,’ CBK corrected.

‘Ok, twenty, but it was a “no show”.  If what you’ve managed so far indicates anything you should drop this party leader idea.’

‘That’s funny.  Giving up the party leader idea…that’s not something you would ever do!’ CBK managed a grim through the grimace that materialized when home truths found target. 

Even Ranil smiled.  Then he said what he really came to say: ‘You should drop out of sight the next few weeks.’

‘What?’ CBK retorted. 

‘Well, the more you look like the power behind Maithri, the more it looks like a battle between MR and CBK.  You ruled for 11 years, he’s been in power for nine.  All Mahinda has to do is to say “this is between Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chandrika Kumaratunga”.  Track records will be compared.  He ended a war you know.   And he’s done stuff on the ground.  It would be hard to find a Chandrika-Footprint on Sri Lankan soil.’

The lady was livid.  She got the point though.  She was silent for a while.  Then she played her final trump.

‘I have the money.  At least let’s say whatever money embassies are willing to give will come to me.’

‘You think that will counter the edge that the incumbent has?  He’s not just the incumbent, he’s Mahinda Rajapaksa.  Known.  Criticized, but loved by many.  Admired even by his enemies.   People are grateful to him.  It’s not money that will win the day for Maithri.  It’s people.  Sorry to break the bad news, but you are bad news.’ 

‘And you are good news?’

‘No.  I am beginning to realize this.  If Maithri wins, then I see a few things happening.  He will own the SLFP.  He will preside over constitutional reform enacted by a national government.  We will have general elections and he will have a huge edge over the UNP.  I mean, it is unlikely that there will be a UNP-SLFP coalition.  Even if there was such a coalition, he would get to lead it.  So we would have to go our separate ways.  With Mahinda gone, the SLFP will abandon him.’

‘But at least you will still be the Leader of the Opposition!’ CBK comforted the man.



Uditha said...

"Cousin talk". Then again, they technically are cousins.

Anonymous said...

Shame shame shame Sri Lankans!!!!