The Prime Minister of Tawa – 48
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The Parliament Building in Hepara was a grand sandstone edifice, bequeathed by General Naranin to Tawa and the cause of democracy. When Tawa got its independence, the not-so-impressive and smallish building that housed the Dominion Assembly had been converted into the Parliament. It had barely managed to accommodate the sixty MPs thrown up by the first elections. After General Naranin decided to install Kemon Padusee as a quisling Prime Minister, he constructed a magnificent new Parliament for Kemon to preside over. It was a majestic building made of teak and sandstone and could have easily seated five hundred MPs. Its overhead gallery allowed a couple of hundred visitors to watch the proceedings.
A week after the Dimanan scandal broke, the Parliament opened for its monsoon session. It was also the first Parliament session since the deal with Bendron Corp had been announced. Kemon Padusee had warned that the PDA did not accept the TFP’s denial that Dimanan had accepted a bribe. Dimanan had no right to continue as the Economic Affairs Minister any more, both the PDA and CPT claimed. And they would not allow normal proceedings to be carried out in the Parliament, they promised.
As was customary, the King made an inaugural address to the Parliament. Mash and Peelee met the King when he arrived and escorted him inside. Geero Moshee was quite distant and formal to Mash, as he usually was. In all fairness to the King, Mash had avoided meeting him whenever possible. And when he did meet with Geero Moshee, he kept his deference to the barest minimum possible. All of which was convinced the King that Mash was not yet another admirer of the Royal House of Moshee. Geero Moshee’s address was prepared by Geero himself, but had been reviewed and edited by the Prime Minister’s office. For this address, Mash had made substantial additions to the speech which had been submitted to him. Geero noted that Tawa had entered into a new phase in its relationship with the United States. Tawa had sent some of its finest men to Iraq to help the United States. In return, the United States had waived the entire one billion dollars which Tawa owed the United States. Further, five hundred million dollars had been given as aid by the United States to enable Tawa to repair its railway network. Geero went on to welcome Bendron Corp to Tawa. He thanked the Prime Minister Maheshdas Zoloda for this skill and perseverance in attracting foreign investment into Tawa. He hoped that the construction of the dam and the aluminium factory would help cement the peace treaty which had been signed with the rebels in the Central Hill District, which was now called the Autonomous Region of Seedaland. But the time Geero Moshee got to the end of his address, he was almost groaning with the effort of praising someone who did not particularly like. Mash enjoyed himself. Up yourself mate, he mentally wished the King.
After the King finished his address, he left, escorted to his waiting Rolls Royce by Mash and Vikan. When Mash re-entered the Parliament hall, pandemonium had broken out. The PDA and the CPT were being as good as their word. The four PDA members and the lone CPT members were screaming vociferously for Dimanan’s dismissal. Two of the MPs had copies of the Hepara Herald in their hands, which they waved furiously. As if by waving the newspaper in front of the speaker, the speaker would be forced to ask Dimanan to explain his actions or throw him into jail. The speaker requested them to allow him to formally start question hour before they asked their questions in accordance with the established procedure of the house.
‘No, No and No. We will not permit normal proceedings to be conducted till Dimanan-raan is removed from his ministerial post,’ the opposition MPs shouted.
‘The Hepara Herald merely made a series of allegations. It has not offered any real proof,’ the treasury benches shouted back.
‘In that case, please sue the Hepara Herald for defamation. Please prove in a court of law that Dimanan-raan did not accept any money.’
‘Are we supposed to run the government or fight cases in court? Don’t we have better things to do? Should we respond to every barking dog?’
‘Dogs bark at thieves.’
The MPs continued to make a show of protest for another thirty minutes. When they were through with their demonstration, they staged a noisy walk-out.
Mash heaved a sigh of relief. Peelee sat to his left on the treasury bench, looking bored and sleepy. Dimanan, who sat to his right, looked defiant, with his shoulders all squared up.
’Well, at least we won’t have to answer questions about the Bendron Corp deal,’ Dimanan told his fellow ministers at large.
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