The UNP promises to build a new country in 60 months while the UPFA guarantees a better future and new life. Since Democratic Party Leader Sarath Fonseka is suffering from a throat problem a recording is played at his party meetings. The DP has still not circulated a manifesto.
The JVP manifesto ‘Voice of Conscience’ seeks to find solutions to the problems Sri Lanka is facing. It asks for a ‘remote control’ by which the party can control capitalist parties.
Rohana Wijeweera gave birth to the JVP by making sacrifices. Today, the JVP doesn’t need to make such sacrifices. Marxism is standing on its head.
At the 2004 Parliamentary Election, the JVP under the UPFA won 39 seats. The UPFA-JVP National List MP was Chandrasekera. At the 2010 Parliamentary Election the JVP (which had joined Sarath Fonseka’s Democratic National Alliance) won five seats. The only National List MP was Dissanayake.
If Dr. N. M. Perera and Dr. Colvin R. de Silva could hang on to Sirima Bandaranaike’s sari pota, the JVP has the right to do the same. For this reason the JVP gave its blessings to the ‘Yahapalana’ (Good Governance) coalition after January 8. The JVP’s support to the UNP-led Yahapalana coalition via the National Executive Council boosted the image of the ‘pickpocket’ minority government.
In 2001, the JVP formed a probationary government with Chandrika Kumaratunga. It was absorbed into her People’s Alliance government in 2004. Later they colluded with Mahinda Rajapaksa. Even later the JVP did a ‘U’ turn and joined Sarath Fonseka and the UNP.
The JVP lauched two insurgencies. Officially 1,200 rebels were killed in the first one.
Unofficially the number was nearly 5,000. The second insurgency (1986 to 1990) was worse. 34,014 government-armed groups and vigilantes were killed. The PRAA (People’s Revolutionary Red Army) killed 1,222 people, the Deshapremi Janatha Vyapaaraya (Patriotic People’s Movement) 6,577. A total of 41,813. Unofficial reports state that nearly 60,000 people were killed.
The 6,577 DJV victims included 2,645 UNP members, 1,652 ordinary civilians, 702 spies, 487 government employees, 342 police officers, 15 army officers and 202 ordinary soldiers, 187 university students and school-goers, 117 Mahajana Party members, 93 members of police families, 52 school principals, 41 bhikkus, 16 doctors, 14 lawyers, eight artistes, two vice chancellors and two Catholic priests.
The JVP incinerated Rs.1000 million worth of state property, among them 553 CTB buses, 294 grama seva offices, and 680 post offices. Insurgents also broke into 40 banks.
Although Rohana Wijeweera did not openly get involved in coalition politics and ruin his reputation there were allegations that he connived with the UNP. He addressed a series of countrywide meetings titled ‘The end of the road for the SLFP’.
Thereafter, the JVP ‘boycotted’ elections with death threats and paved the way for SLFP leader Sirima Bandaranaike’s defeat and Ranasinghe Premadasa’s victory in the 1988 Presidential Election. And the JVP of today has paved the way to make Ranil Wickremesinghe Prime Minister in the upcoming election.
There were 39 JVPers in Parliament in Kumaratunga’s government, among them Ministers. Nevertheless, they did not have the technical knowledge, ability, and skills to launch practical programs. Anura Kumara Dissanayake claimed to restore 10,000 tanks. Not a single tank was restored. Lal Kantha’s self-employment programs never saw the light of day. Sunil Handunnetti got publicity eating with employees at the Ministry common room. That was it.
They had a trump. The Post Tsunami Operational Management Structure (PTOMS). Introduced in Parliament in 2005, it gave the JVP members the opportunity to resign from the ministerial positions in protest.
In 2000, JVP put forward a five-year plan. In 2013, their manifesto sought to solve the national question. During the last Provincial Council Election they issued a policy statement titled, ‘Our Vision.’
The ‘Voice of Conscience’ today in connection with the coming General Election is old wine in new bottles. They play a different tune at different times.
What the JVP did during the Presidential Election of December 1988 and the General Election of February 1989 was to pave the way for the UNP to come to power by attacking the SLFP. It is an extension of this same policy the country saw on January 8, 2015.
This time the JVP is trying to march towards Socialism via the ‘National Liberation Struggle’ by appointing Ranil Wickremesinghe Prime Minister. But the JVP’s so-called Voice of Conscience will be drowned by the Mahinda Movement.
(The writer is a senior journalist who could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)