The new look JVP at the last May Day
JVP on comeback trail after Weerawansa
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
The JVP's fifth national convention would be
a politically decisive event for their
dissident propaganda secretary Wimal
Weerawansa, as the charges levelled against
him by the party's Central Committee would
for the first time be read out to the party
Amidst efforts by Weerawansa's newly formed
National Freedom Front (NFF) to sabotage the
JVP's convention scheduled for Tuesday (27),
the JVP's party machinery is in full swing
to ensure the event would be one that would
herald a new era for the party.
The convention that would be held under the
theme of forming a wide public force to
rebuild the country would see the
formulation of the strategy to be adopted by
the party in facing the current political
challenges, especially given the internal
crisis that has erupted in the party.
First would be the appointment of a new
Central Committee. The appointment of
members to the politburo would follow.
Next on the agenda is the formulation of
party strategy to face the challenges before
the party after taking into consideration
the present political scenario. It is during
this time that the present crisis faced by
the party too would be taken up for
It is learned that the JVP's internal crisis
would be taken up for discussion along with
the charges levelled against the party's
dissident propaganda secretary and
parliamentary group leader, Wimal Weerawansa.
Through the open discussion on the charges
presented by the Central Committee the party
is to also decide on the actions to be
instituted against Weerawansa as well as the
other dissident members.
However, the charges levelled against
Weerawansa initially by the Central
Committee have now been increased following
his defection from the party. Acting against
the party's ideology and policies, taking
internal party issues out into the open,
making a statement on internal party issues
in parliament and factionalising the party
are some of the new charges that have been
added onto the already existing charges.
JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe has already
said there were serious allegations,
including some relating to financial
irregularities against Weerawansa.
JVP sources have told The Sunday Leader that
disciplinary action had to be taken against
Weerawansa for several reasons including his
alleged 'deals' with the government.
Weerawansa was given several opportunities
to reply to the charges levelled against
him. Amarasinghe had himself submitted the
charges against Weerawansa as they were of a
very serious nature. The Central Committee
had then met on February 26 to discuss the
allegations against Weerawansa, but he
wanted more time and was granted time until
March 1 to submit an explanation.
When the committee met on March 7,
Weerawansa had not turned up. The committee
then had another meeting on March 17 to
discuss the charges against him but once
again Weerawansa played truant.
A committee comprising Tilvin Silva,
Chandrasena Wijesinghe and K.D. Lalkantha
was appointed to hear Weerawansa's case.
However, Weerawansa avoided making any
explanation to clear his name.
Instead, he chose to make an open statement
in parliament and defect from the party.
Eleven other JVP parliamentarians pledged
their support to him initially. However, one
Parliamentarian, Sujatha Alahakoon later
returned to the main party fold stating she
was misled into joining the group.
The party's final decision on Weerawansa
would be arrived at the convention on
New appointments are also to be made to the
posts previously held by Weerawansa -
propaganda secretary and the leader of the
Colombo District committee.
The names of the new appointees to the posts
are to be presented to the gathering by the
newly formed Central Committee for approval.
Apart from the political strategies the
party would adopt following the convention,
the most important issue would be the fact
that May 27 would also be a politically
decisive day for Weerawansa.
The JVP it is learned has invited Weerawansa
and the other defectors to attend the
convention. In fact, the invitations have
been sent via registered post to Weerawansa
and his group. It is yet unknown if
Weerawansa and co. would attend the
However, the JVP convention has become a
threat to Weerawansa and the allies of the
newly formed NFF. The reason being the fear
that the JVP leadership would along with the
charges against Weerawansa, place before its
membership confessions made in writing by
Weerawansa months before defecting from the
The Sunday Leader reliably learns that the
JVP leadership was in possession of several
letters, some written by Weerawansa himself
and one by his wife, Shirsha "Sashi"
Udayanthi to the party. Some of the contents
of these letters it is learned, justifies
some of the charges levelled against
Weerawansa while another letter written by
him was a self critical one.
Self-criticism is a tradition adopted by the
party since its inception where members
present self-critical letters to the party
leadership whenever they have been accused
of violating party discipline.
Weerawansa, who is well aware of the
implications that would follow if the party
leadership made public the contents of the
documents, has put several plans in motion
to prevent any such eventuality.
For this purpose, he has so far used many
tactics, from making several requests to the
party through various individuals to even
exerting pressure on the party through its
international branch network.
The first step taken by Weerawansa was to
make a statement during a political
interview that the letters written by him
confessing to some of the charges levelled
against him were in fact ones that have been
Since Weerawansa claimed the letters to have
been doctored, the assumption then would be
that he had no reason to fear them being
publicised. However, with convention day
getting closer, Weerawansa seems to have
become more nervous.
The JVP's branch in Japan, with which
Weerawansa has formed a link through one
Saman Priyankara also known as Japan Saman,
last week in a letter to JVP Secretary
Tilvin Silva said the Japan Branch has
decided to withdrawn its support to the JVP
and align itself with the NFF.
Organiser of the Japan Branch Saman
Priyankara has said that the members
unanimously agreed that since they no longer
had faith in the JVP it has been unanimously
decided to support the Weerawansa led NFF.
"The party which took correct decisions
till the 2005 presidential election under
the leadership of comrade Somawansa
Amarasinghe seems to have gone astray in
recent times with the so-called leaders in
the party who are no better than the 'frogs
in the well' trying to overrule the entire
party and especially using comrade
Amarasinghe as a puppet who simply recites
those leaders' commands," he has said.
However, the real motive behind Priyankara's
letter was in the next few paragraphs.
Picking up cudgels
Priyankara has said that members gave
written self-criticisms to the party with
'deep faith' and to publicise it to achieve
vested interests would be a low thing to do.
"We do not understand what you are
expecting by publicising a self-criticism
apparently handed over by the party's
propaganda secretary locally and
internationally. It is a pity that you do
not understand that it is you who are
putting yourself on the spot by engaging in
such a low activity and the rest of the
world would despise such an act," Priyankara
He has also added that the question had now
arisen if any member would extend a
self-criticism to the party in future given
the actions of the party leadership. These
words in Priyankara's letter stands
testimony to the fact that Weerawansa was
going full steam to prevent the contents of
the letter from being placed before the
party membership at the convention.
The decision of the JVP's Japan Branch has
further implicated Weerawansa's role in the
whole scheme of things.
The Sunday Leader learns that the JVP had
dissolved its branch in Japan about four
years ago. Hence, for the past four years,
the party had not had any branch committee
Priyankara however, was the organiser of the
branch committee when it was operational
four years ago. Since its dissolution,
Priyankara has kept in touch with the party
on an individual level and more so with
Therefore, it has been alleged by the JVP
that the latest episode was more a
Weerawansa act than any other.
The JVP's main funding sources, which are
its branches in Europe, especially in the
UK, remain loyal to the party. Party members
in those countries have been informed of
Weerawansa's defection and the reasons
behind it, including the charges levelled
Weerawansa however has done his best to
convince the NFF allies that it was he who
shed light on the JVP.
As for the question if there has been any
real damage caused to the JVP with
Weerawansa's departure, the party's response
has been that he was only the voice of the
party that conveyed the decisions and
policies of the party to the membership and
The party's reaction to the so-called
'patriotic front' formed by the dissident
group was that it was hypocritical to
criticise foreign capitalistic powers while
protecting their local agents.
Politburo member Vijitha Herath was quoted
stating that the JVP was aware that there
was a conspiracy within the party for quite
some time. "While violating the policies,
ethics and regulations of the party,
Weerawansa worked in cahoots with their
local agents to destroy the party and
carried out their agenda. Now they have come
out and work openly though the people in the
country know well as to who protects the
capitalists and who carries forward the
people's struggle. This group is covering
the sins of the imperialistic and
capitalistic policies of the present
government while the JVP is fighting it;
that is different between the so called
fronts and the JVP," he has said.
Party front-liner Anura Kumara Dissanayake
responding to the formation of the NFF
questioned as to the new party's real
motive. He said there was no vacuum in the
country's political platform for the NFF to
He added that the only objective of the
party would be to support the government.
According to the JVP, Weerawansa has now
become a voice of the government, doing its
It has been alleged that Weerawansa who now
enjoys the perks and privileges of a
government minister was working according to
the government's agenda.
Weerawansa and his group of defectors have
openly called for state patronage. JVP
defector, Parliamentarian Achala Jagoda on a
parliament letterhead has written to Public
Administration and Home Affairs Minister
Karu Jayasuriya to provide him with a house
in the government owned Summit Flats.
Since the defection, Weerawansa has made
several statements to indicate an erosion in
the JVP's vote base - the most recent being
the statement made following the Eastern
Provincial Council polls.
Weerawansa said that the JVP vote base has
seen a decline as the party that secured
over 11,000 votes in the Ampara district
alone in the last general election had this
time managed to secure only 9,000 odd votes
from the whole province.
However, the JVP has responded to
Weerawansa's statement by saying that it was
one that was made in support of the
Supporting the government
According to the JVP, the results of the
Eastern Provincial Council cannot be taken
into consideration as it cannot be
considered an election given the large scale
rigging and corruption involved.
Weerawansa's statement therefore was one
that was made indirectly in support of the
government and justifying the manner in
which it was conducted, the JVP has said.
The party has challenged Weerawansa time and
again to come out with details to back his
allegations - the party being led by several
conspirators and slaves of an imperialist
agenda. Weerawansa however has so far shied
away from taking up the challenge.
The JVP on Tuesday, in front of thousands of
party members, would show Weerawansa's true
nature when the charges levelled against him
would be read out in the open, insiders say.
The party's parliamentarians, members from
the provincial councils and local government
bodies and representatives from the district
committees are expected to participate at
the event that is to be held at the
Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium.
The ceremonial opening will be at 9 a.m. and
will continue till 1 p.m. Official work is
scheduled to commence at 2 p.m.
The JVP has expressed full confidence in the
convention being a success.
According to the JVP, the hallmark of the
party was that from the very outset it
accomplished something that no other left
party in Sri Lanka has done - it produced
revolutionaries who amidst many challenges
sacrificed wholly their lives for the
Amarasinghe has said that there are no 'I's
in his party but 'we's and any declaration
represents the collective stand.
"The party was not destroyed in 1971 or
1989. There were detractors in the past too
like Dharmasekara and Vijitha Lal who gave
evidence against Wijeweera. But the party
survived. Today certain rogues have come
forward to talk about the JVP. Pretty soon
they will be exposed. The truth will be
victorious ultimately," Amarasinghe said.
Come Tuesday - the Somawansa Amarasinghe led
JVP's first ever convention without
Weerawansa in tow - will allow the public to
see for itself which group of the red
brethren are holding the cards of popular
support and longevity, and which side is
likely to fade into political oblivion.