Hot on the heels of a shifting of electoral fortunes in the Provincial Council polls that concluded last week, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, in an interview with the Dailymirror reiterated that what was required in this country was a change in the system of governance in itself, instead of a mere changing of governments.
Q: Do you believe that your analysis of the JVP’s performance is justified given the fact that their fortunes in comparison to the elections held a decade ago, have dwindled?
Of course it is justified. The party suffered a setback during the past few years which was evident in the patterns of voting. This time however, we have had a complete turnaround and in certain districts we have gained seats that we never possessed before. Accordingly, we have two seats from Hambantota which was considered the bastion of the Rajapaksas and in Colombo we have won three seats. In some districts we have witnessed an increase of over 300% in our votes and that clearly indicates that our party is moving towards a victory. We want to be a solid opposition that is willing to take on the corruption and the nepotism of this government, which is in its true essence a government that is against the people.
Q: There is a belief that many of those who rallied around the JVP during these elections are in fact not hardcore Marxists or anything of the sort, nor had they been convinced by your election manifesto. Instead they found your party to be the most potent opposition force. Do you agree with this?
We have to strive to ensure that our politics go beyond how it is today. It has to be an intellectual exercise as opposed to what it is today.
If the people are in fact straining that intellectual ability to make political decisions, the UPFA and the UNP would have been wiped out a long time ago, simply by giving attention to their consecutive election manifestos. However, despite this those who voted for the JVP are those who are keen to seek the common good for the people and the country.
Those who voted for us didn’t vote due to personal affiliations or favours that we would provide them in return. We would never do that. Instead the common ground among every voter who cast their vote for the JVP was that they voted for the larger goal - the common good of the people and this country.
On the other hand, all the candidates we fielded were good, honest, hardworking people who loved this country.
They have no wealth or popularity but it was these candidates that were voted in by the people. That shows that those who are with us are in fact actually committed to see a more vibrant society.
Q: How do you intend maintaining the present momentum, given the fact that many of those who voted for your party during these elections are not part of your cadre, but with a more liberal stance?
That is your opinion of the voting pattern; however we will strive to ensure that the trust that has been placed in us is not broken. We will also work hard to ensure that the expectations that the public of this country are fulfilled. We will also work towards convincing those who did not vote for the JVP that we are the only alternative for a revamp of the systems of this country. We will strive to strengthen the trust place in us while working hard to educate the masses of this country regarding the pitfalls and the cons of this corrupt system of governance.
There have been many unscrupulous elements that have joined hands with the General and therefore I do not see it as a political force that will take a permanent shape in the country’s political sphere
Q: This question may be a cliché but how do you view the emergence of General Sarath Fonseka’s party? Have they not proved to be the third force?
It’s a party that has emerged as a temporary reaction to the government and the failings of the opposition. It is based on the popularity of General Fonseka and in essence, on the public perception of him and the services he rendered to the country as the head of the Army. However, it is not a party which has a long political future because it is devoid of any solid foundation except that of the popularity of the General. Also, there have been many unscrupulous elements that have joined hands with the General and therefore I do not see it as a political force that will take a permanent shape in the country’s political sphere.
We will strive to strengthen the trust place in us while working hard to educate the masses of this country regarding the pitfalls and the cons of this corrupt system of governance
Q: One of the main things that you have said after assuming leadership of the party is that the party has to first look inward and strengthen its cadre instead of trying to topple the government; does this still hold following the mandate given to you?
Yes it does, we have to look towards strengthening our party cadre first and work towards forming a broad alliance of people from all walks of life. We have a clear vision and that is what we have, to educate the masses on. What we believe is that we cannot topple this government and have another that substitutes this. That is not what we need. This substitution has happened since 1947 to no avail, with the masses of this country continuing to suffer. There has been no development in any aspect both materialistically and spiritually. For instance, take art, culture and literature - what has happened to these aesthetics that nourish a society? Therefore we are working towards ensuring a revamp of this entire system instead of finding substitutes each time we feel the other is not doing well because the system in itself needs a complete turnaround.
We are working towards ensuring a revamp of this entire system instead of finding substitutes each time we feel the other is not doing well because the system in itself needs a complete turnaround
Q: Does this mean that you would halt the vociferous criticism of the government that we saw in the recent past?
No it doesn’t, it will go hand in hand with the revamping of our party. We will struggle with the people of this country against this despicalble regime. We have proved to be the only potent oppistion force that speaks on behalf of the people of this country and that will continue unabated.