The Sunday Leader

“The Country Still Needs The JVP”

K.D. Lalkantha

JVP politburo member and National Trade Union Center Head, K.D. Lalkantha observed that the JVP has played an active role outside parliament to win various issues and would continue in the same manner regardless of the number of seats secured by the JVP led DNA at the general elections. However, while admitting a decline in the JVP vote base he said the party would work to strengthen itself in the villages once again. He said the JVP would continue to build the party while also broad basing the newly formed DNA as a strong electoral force. “We will carry out our politics in two ways – to build the JVP and to also build a better force through the DNA,” Lalkantha said. Excerpts:

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

Q: How do you see the performance of the JVP led DNA at the general election?

A: We had to contest under the trophy symbol because of the UNP’s decision to contest the general election under the elephant symbol. We wanted to contest with the broad opposition alliance formed during the presidential election under the swan symbol. Such a move would have helped people rally around the opposition with confidence.

We believe that we have not done well at the parliamentary elections. After deciding to contest the election under the trophy symbol, we had the challenge of taking the new symbol among the people and educating the people even at village level of our policies and the reason for changing the symbol. However, within the short period of time that was available to us, we couldn’t take our message to the villages although there was awareness among the urban population. In fact there was no balance between the awareness created at village level and urban level.
Q: Do you feel that the election results have reflected an erosion in the JVP vote base?

A: The JVP vote base has clearly reduced. With the war victory a considerable number of UNP and JVP supporters as well as mid level voters not belonging to any party rallied around the betel leaf. The people who rallied around the governing party then have still not moved away from it and are still strong in their expectations of it. This has now been witnessed at the presidential and general elections. Therefore, our voters have reduced.
Q: But the JVP vote base has been on the decline since 2005, even before the war?
A: After the 2004 general election and the 2005 presidential election, it was in 2006 that the JVP contested as a separate party at that year’s local government elections. At the time there was no war and the party was pushing for the war. The war changed the country’s political landscape. It is amidst these changes that the provincial council elections were held and the scenario that was mentioned earlier by me had already been created.

Yet, there was some hope with General Sarath Fonseka contesting as the common opposition candidate at the presidential election backed by all main opposition parties. However, the UNP’s decision to contest under the elephant fractionalised the broad opposition alliance formed under the swan symbol. The general election results show that 50% of the people who voted for the swan have not voted for either the elephant or the trophy. It also needs to be said that the votes received by the betel leaf have been subjected to a change between the presidential and general election. A lot who had voted for the betel leaf during presidential election had not voted during the general election. The general election results are a clear indication that the majority of the people do not have faith in the government or the political system in the country.

Q: The opposition has less seats in parliament and their power of intervention has reduced. How will the JVP continue to play its role?

A: If you consider the number of opposition members in parliament one could say there is a reduction in intervention power. Yet if the opposition members could work together or separately on good programmes, the voice of the opposition in parliament can be maintained. Regardless of whether it is going to be 50 or 80 MPs, it is the quality that matters. In the same manner whether the JVP has two or eight MPs inside parliament, the party’s power to intervene in relation to key issues is still in tact.

Numbers in parliament matter only when passing legislation. Therefore, the current numbers are not a problem to hold a political ideology and build social awareness. If you look at the JVP, it is important to note that socio-political changes have been made outside parliament. When the CFA was signed in 2002, the JVP played a key role opposing it outside parliament. In a similar manner, when Chandrika Kumaratunga tried to implement the P-TOMS after the tsunami, we managed to defeat it with the people’s power and that of the judiciary.

The struggle to get the north and east de-merged was also won outside parliament. Parliament has been used to raise a voice and it is rare to find instances where politics have been decided inside parliament. The JVP has and will play an important role outside parliament.

Q: Will the building up of the DNA as a strong political force happen under the leadership of the JVP or General Sarath Fonseka?

A: In 1993, Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the leader of the SLFP and Chandrika Kumaratunga became the leader of the PA. In the same way, the DNA will be a broad alliance with General Fonseka as its leader and the JVP will continue with its politics separately. The JVP has always been different to other political parties in the country in relation to policies.

Our party has a leadership and is not based on a leader. We take collective decisions. In the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe has the power to take the final decision. In the SLFP, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decisions have to be endorsed. In the JVP, all members have equal status. However, the responsibilities allocated to each member within the party differ.

Since the JVP entered electoral politics in 1994, we have given a lot of victories to the people. We will now analyze the current political scenario and work to renew the party accordingly.

Q: How do you plan to build the DNA with its leader General Fonseka in military custody facing two courts martial?

A: There are many examples where political movements have carried out their work while the leader is in military custody. We will take all these examples into account and the experiences we had when carrying out the general election campaign with General Fonseka in custody. We will continue with our work.

17 Comments for ““The Country Still Needs The JVP””

  1. Chandra

    We need JVP to remain in active politics as the voice of the youth. It has been useful in shaping the destiny of Sri Lanka.
    It has great organizational skills!
    It needs more younger blood under 35 years.

    • We may need the JVP to take care of restless youth from revolting again!But unfortunately with outdated policies who still thinks Lenin and Marx philosophies will bring salvation to Sri lanka,I very much doubt their marketability in modern day politics.They were just rubble rouses in the past,opposing every progressive legislation that was brought to the parliament.But again they are entitled for their view in a democracy and we need to tolerate their ignorance as it will be any other democracy.But whether this brand of socialism will have a future will be any body’s guess as shown in their dwindling voter base!They should also be smart enough to do a weerawansa, and cling on to UPFA to get their lost privileges and perquisites and on and off then can strat scavenging for MR and the clan!!

  2. azdaktoday

    Mr. Lalkantha, Did you hear anybody saying that the JVP is not needed ?!

  3. Donald

    Mr. Lal Kantha,obviously, is reacting to the changing public opinion which is clearly rejecting the JVP, at last. It is a matter for delight for those who reject terrorism, wicked political manoeuvres, cheap and backward thinking. JVP should be thankful to Late “Old Fox” for his propotional representation system for their meagre existance in the present Parliament. Even JRJ’s system won’t be able to spare them this luxury next time. Well done Sri Lankan voters! JVP deserves to be wiped out of the face of this earth without any traces

    • andy

      Yes indeed! This is the last parliament that you can see JVP MPs. when MR change the proportional representation system by the next election, there will be no JVPrs in the parliament. I think JVP overly reacted and over estimated their capacities. Likely Sri Lankans don’t want to change our political system through revolutions and they don’t support for a revolution. In 1971 and 1988-89 the majority rejected JVP. MR’s successful leadership in the war and economic developments has decreased opportunities for JVP in Sri Lankan political arena. As successful as MR’s leadership in the future, JVP will lose more. For example, Monaragala, Badulla, Anuradhapura, Pollonaruwa and Kurunagala districts are increasingly coming in to UPFA and JVP is losing. JVP survived in urban areas unusually like in Maharagama, Homagama and Kasbawa due to SF’s popularity. However this will not be a sustainable political cause. At the same time, MR has been popular among marginalised communities and rural areas where JVP used to have strong vote bases. I think JVP will be a minority party like Communist or LSSP in the future.

      • Donald

        LSSP, although not the choice of majority Sri Lankans, was definitely a political party with principles. JVP is nothing but a bunch of villians whose sole purpose of life is to pull every youth of this country into the bottomless pit they are in, for good. It is amazing how they can tap in to the weaknesses of otherwise great people like General Fonseka and bring about disastrous results. Disaster is their speciality. I repeat, JVP deserves to be wiped out of the face of the earth without a trace.

  4. sam

    Lalkantha is very clear about the verdict of the people. He says the voters of the country are behind the betal leaf after the war was won. I am confussed! Section of the JVP and General Fonseka say the presidential election was won by General Fonseka and the results were manipulated. How come if the voters are with the betal leaf, General Fonseka contesting from the swan symbol would win the prez election?

    • Donald

      When you look at his guy Lal Kantha and/or Anura Kumara Dissanayake what is your first impression – A Prudent Politician, a respectable personality, someone to be taken serious or a, THUG from First Division Maradana?
      I see someone thrown out of a brothel house.

  5. [...] (Daily Mirror) April 27th, 2010 | Category: Interview, Political [...]

  6. ranjit de mel

    i have not read the interview with this guy from the national socialist party the jvp .jvp donkeys died longago, would have been buried this time if not for the top sinhale nationalist fonseka.

  7. jayalal

    Keep Up !Do not give up!Comrades,eventough people are misled by the government propaganda people are are with you .since your party is the only party which an count on for a better Sri lanka

  8. Kalag

    JVP has made some fatal mistakes.
    1. Let Wimal Weerawansa leave from party.
    2. Betting all its money on SF
    3. Started to support Tamils in the north (especially aligning with TNA).

    If they can do something to these three immediately, they can have a come back. If not, start digging the grave.

  9. Psycho

    JVP is the first terrorist organisation in Sri Lanka, have you all forgotten that.?

    • Donny

      Absolutely! They are the people who introduced TERRORISM to Sri Lanka, not LTTE. LTTE learned from them.

  10. These JVPers have overestimated their streangth.Any FOOL with aan IOTA of common sence would have known that JVPs ability to topple MR Govt is a total misconception.These are the people who gave endless pains to the general public with work stoppages,roadside killings,by paving way for President Premadasa to launch a killing spree against all his opponents for which Ranil too contributed.During this terror period I was at Matale, the ammount of trouble we had in attending office was so painful that on one side I was threatend by the Ruling party bigwigs,and on the JVP,demanding sabotage of essential services where I was responsible for one.
    These loosers mislead Gen Sarath Fonseka who too was eager for power by hook or crook.
    Sorry JVPers! U ALL R LOST FOR GOOD.

  11. JVP< without barking like saints, PL ALLOW GOVT TO RUN THE GOVT MACHINARY WITHOUT DISRUPTION.If not the general public will punish you SWOLLEN HEADED FOOLS!!!

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