A case of the blues

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My dear Satellite,

I am writing to you after some time. That is after seeing you back in the limelight after many years, dabbling again in the affairs of the Blue Party. The last we heard, you had intervened successfully in court to obtain an order preventing Aiyo Sirisena from functioning as the Chairman of your Party.

Honestly, I don’t know what your motives were. We understand if you felt you had to intervene to save the Party founded by your father and nurtured during difficult times by your mother. Even if there was more to it than that, we agree that someone had to stop Aiyo Sirisena going on a rampage.

Over the past few months, his behaviour has been questionable. First, he wants to sack Siripala and a few others for accepting positions as Uncle Ranil’s ministers. Dayasiri, as his party secretary, backed him to the hilt. When Siripala went to court, Sirisena does an about turn and sacks Dayasiri instead!

More recently, Aiyo Sirisena spoke as if he suddenly woke up from a bad dream, saying he knew who masterminded the Easter attacks. To add to that, he sacks three key Blue Party officials. It makes you wonder whether he has lost his marbles. So, we are not finding fault with you for stepping in now.

You appointed Siripala as the ‘acting’ captain of the Blue team. Just after the end of the ‘big match’ season, this sets up another ‘Battle of the Blues,’ Sirisena vs Siripala, the sleepy minister-for-life vs the artful dodger, ex-lawyer vs ex-grama sevaka. This big match won’t end in a boring draw!

Satellite, your battle with Aiyo Sirisena has an eery sense of déjà vu. Remember four decades ago when your mother battled another Maithripala from Rajarata and went to courts. There was a tussle for control of the headquarters at Darley Road then too. Is history repeating itself for the Blue Party?

At the time, newspapers were referring to SLFP(B) vs SLFP(M). The way matters are turning out in the Blue Party, we may see that again. The only difference was that, back then, your beloved brother, the late lamented Crown Prince who never got to wear the crown, was on the ‘other’ Maithri’s side.

You were asked about your decision to go to courts and intervene in issues of the Blue Party and about backing Siripala against Sirisena. You said that you made a mistake by bringing Sirisena into power 9 years ago and that you were simply taking the necessary steps to rectify that mistake.

Have you realised that you made another colossal mistake? That was to appoint Mahinda maama as PM 20 years ago. He was not your first choice, it was one of the three ‘Lakshman’s – and no prizes for guessing which one. Yet, you caved into pressure from the saffron-robed types and appointed him.

One could say it was not a mistake because Mahinda maama won the war, but isn’t the entire nation trying to recover from the after effects of that decision now, Satellite? So, the mistakes you made have cost us dearly. It makes us wonder whether it was a mistake to elect you in the first instance!

You trying to sort out affairs of the Blue Party to make it more ‘democratic’ is a bit rich because it was the ‘B’ family which ruled the Party for the first 50 years, treating it like a family heirloom. When Mahinda maama took over, he had designs for the R family to rule the Party for the next 50 years.

You couldn’t stand the prospect of that happening. That is why you intervened to bring Aiyo Sirisena as a candidate against Mahinda maama. Deprived of the reins of the Blue Party when Aiyo Sirisena won, Mahinda maama formed the ‘pohottuwa’ Party, which is his family heirloom now.

So, there is little difference between the ‘B’s and the ‘R’s about using a Party to their advantage. You will probably argue, saying there was a difference in the degree of corruption in the two regimes. The other difference is that the ‘R’ siblings haven’t openly fought among themselves – not yet, anyway.

Those with Aiyo Sirisena in this battle claim this is all a conspiracy to hand over control of the Blue Party to the Green Party. I don’t think you will do that, having opposed the Greens all your life, but beware, Uncle Ranil has ‘Pohottuwa’ chaps dancing to his tune, so your fellows will be easy pickings!

Satellite, you can learn a lesson from your Green predecessors, JR and DB. When they retired, they stayed retired, they were silent. I will give you credit for not bringing young Vimukthi into the picture, though. With Sajith, Namal and Daham waiting in the wings, that would have been quite unbearable!

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS: In the early days, the Peoples’ Alliance or PA government was called ‘Parakkui, Arakkui.’ You will know why. Like our national airline, you were known as UL or ‘Usually Late.’ Sadly, your attempts to save the Blue Party might also end like attempts to save our airline – too little, too late!