Return of the wild card

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My dear Mervyn,

I didn’t think I would have the misfortune of writing to you ever again. When you were booted out of Parliament at the last general election, we thought we had seen and heard the last of you. We were wrong, not only about you, but others too – and we both know who we are talking about, don’t we?

After the last election, we thought that politics in Paradise was at last, Mervyn-free, even though you have inspired a whole new generation of politicians to behave like you. After all, you are older than Uncle Ranil and even Mahinda maama and when the next elections are held, you will be over 80!

That is why it came as a rude shock when you were at several public appearances recently, making your trademark inflammatory statements. If you really needed publicity, we thought you will confine yourself to judging reality television contests where you could make uncouth remarks about females.

Although it was a shock to see you in the limelight again, Mervyn, it shouldn’t surprise us. You have always been a political animal who preyed on gullible voters. Different political leaders used you at different times for their own purposes, as their ‘attack dog’ and you didn’t seem to mind that either.

Few people now remember that you first entered Parliament from the Green Party. That was almost 30 years ago. A few years later, you were smart enough to sense which way the wind was blowing and switch sides to the Blue camp where Satellite was nearing the end of her second term of office.

That Parliament was dissolved soon after, but it was as a Blue candidate contesting the next general election that you first gained notoriety. You stormed a newspaper office and threatened its editor and staff. They then wrote an editorial titled ‘Me ballath bendala damanu!’ but no one took that seriously.

You lost that election. This though is Paradise, where every prospect pleases, but only for politicians. Someone thought you were so important that they appointed your wife, clueless though she may be about politics, on the National List. When you lost, she resigned and you returned to Parliament!

It was under Mahinda maama that you realised your potential and we saw your true colours. He gave you a free rein and you went about like a bull in a China shop, intimidating people and taking the law into your hands, without suffering any consequences. Not just you, even your son Malaka joined in.

It was a couple of years into Mahinda maama’s first term that you stormed the offices of ‘Rupavahini’ and got involved in a melee there. The employees wanted an apology for your actions; you refused. They took you hostage and daubed you in red paint, the incident being streamed on live television.

Even that didn’t make you mend your ways. A few years later, there was that incident at Kelaniya where you tied a Samurdhi officer to a tree for not attending a meeting. There is video footage of you giving orders to tie him but at the inquiry, it was held that the official tied himself to the tree!

While you were doing all this, you were keen to show Mahinda maama – and the rest of the country – that you were his loyal and faithful servant. So, you literally fell at his feet and worshipped him in public after being sworn in as a minister, a practice that was later adopted by Pavithradevi.

However, you were only loyal to Mahinda maama’s power and not to him. That was proven when, days after Mahinda maama lost the big election, not only did you switch sides and join Aiyo Sirisena, you also lodged complaints with the Police, accusing Mahinda maama of many alleged misdeeds.

You were kicked out of Parliament at the next election. You tried again three years ago. Guess which party fielded you then? It was the Greens you ridiculed and intimidated for decades. Fortunately, the people of Anuradhapura had more brains than those in Gampaha and Hambantota. They rejected you.

Last year, we heard you had quit the Greens and joined the Blue camp again, hoping to contest the next elections from that camp. In what seemed a strange coincidence, just a few weeks later you were arrested for that incident at ‘Rupavahini’ 15 years ago. Ah, talk about justice being delayed!

That you were able to roam free for 15 years, be a minister in that time and then be arrested weeks after changing your party loyalties is a sad indictment, not only of you, but of the corrupt ‘system’ on which Paradise runs now. So, how then can we blame only you for what you do, Mervyn?

We do not know where you will contest from next. Still, we see people applauding you and cheering you as if you were some political demi-god biding his time for a grand entrance. If that is the response someone with your track record gets, is it surprising that we are where we are today, Mervyn?

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS: The rhetoric you have been spewing recently is unashamedly racist. So, whatever party wants to give your nomination next time will have to take such a stance. We hope that the voters will be as mature as those in Anuradhapura once were- because it is now time to take that editorial seriously.