By Anuradha Herath
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) General Secretary Tilvin Silva said in an interview that the Joint Opposition is a gang of thieves who have got together with Rajapaksa.
Excerpts of the interview:
?: It seems as if revealing fraud and corruption is only of promotional advantage to the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna?
A: The role of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna is to reveal frauds and corruption of the government and citizens. We did not stop at massive criticism and just lodging complaints. We have fought towards taking maximum action in connection with those. We revealed to the country the corruption and frauds of the Rajapaksas, as well as the Maithri-Ranil partnership. We revealed it through COPE.
?: Why is there a delay in taking legal action against these?
A: We will fight until legal action is taken. We have done that too. We have done something beyond acquiring a promotional advantage.
?: In our country, traditionally the role of the Opposition is only as a party to pressure the government. However, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna has played that role continuously. Is it the same, today as well? Is the power of the Opposition in your hands now?
A: Actually, it was these two parties which were the government and the Opposition previously. We saw it as two capitalist parties divided up as the government and the Opposition. The true story is that neither party provided relief to the people. We fought continuously with the people’s problems. We engaged in protests.
?: As you said, the JVP has a history of more experience in fighting for the people‘s causes, more than the two capitalist classes. So, you can now use that experience and the power of the Opposition and do something?
A: Our recent struggles have shown results. We were able to win a reduction in the price of fuel in the country, government employees salaries were increased, make a group of manpower employees permanent, all these were as a result of these struggles. The role of the Opposition is being further strengthened.
?: However, the Joint Opposition is making accusations that the JVP is propping up the government, and therefore, it is they who are doing the work of the Opposition.
A: What is the Joint Opposition? When the Sri Lanka Freedom Party joined the government, it is a group that was established by those who fell out with Maithri. It is a gang of thieves who have got together with Rajapaksa now.
?: Is there no impact from that group on the government‘s wrongdoings?
A: These people are trying to come back to power again in order to avoid going to prison for the large-scale swindling that took place. You may remember that on 10 November, Mahinda was not in Parliament to vote against the 15 per cent VAT. Mahinda has covert dealings with Ranil. Weerawansa’s investigations have been suppressed. Deals are made with the objective of grabbing power for himself, can anyone of those criticize the government in the presence of either the President or the Prime Minister? Our Comrade Anura Dissanayake did that.
?: However, isn‘t people power important? You are talking about the party establishing a new People‘s Centre in 2020?
A: Now what we have to do is move beyond the role of the Opposition and establish a people friendly government. We have to emphasize the fact that for 68 years this social economy made the people suffer. There is no benefit for the people by changing the heads in Parliament without changing the social economy. Now what the people require is to defeat this economic system and the government and establish a new government.
?: How can you do that practically? It cannot be done just by just preparing a series of policies, isn‘t that so?
A: During last General Election we presented our policies, also, new problems as well. We made arrangements to mobilize the required forces, after unveiling the policies. By now, the front including university teachers, scholars, intellectuals, artistes, environmentalists as well as civil society organizations are all with us.
?: However, this is a Joint Government. It is a collective of two parties. Will it be easy to defeat them?
A: During the past election the people did not give either party sole power. Now they have been rejected. These are not election campaigns that leaders of parties get together and engage in during election times, we have to be with the working people. It is up to the people to grant power or not. Nevertheless, we have suitable policies through which the people can fearlessly grant us power.
?: JVP spoke of such fronts even previously, didn‘t they?
A: Previously the JVP was together as a front with the Alliance, then with Sarath Fonseka. However, this is the first time a broad front has been generated. This country must have an economy free of corruption. Ours is not a campaign restricted to boards.
?: A new Podujana Peramuna has been established. Will it have an impact on the government?
A: The new party has become a joke. G. L. was the head. Basil is there. Mahinda has not yet decided whether he is going to join the party or not. There are various differences among them. There are no new policies for this party. It is only a group who has become politically destitute. A resting place is being set up for this small destitute group.
?: As you say, with these people‘s covert actions is there a possibility that they would get together and establish a government?
A: The issue is hereafter they will not be able to gain power as a single party. All will get together and establish government. The ease with which they came to power has been lost. It is the people who should decide whether these people should be given the power to govern or not.
?: Do you believe that you will be able to change the minds of the people?
A: According to what we know is nothing that did not change in this world.
?: The President revealed to the country about a fraud, involving the issue of a cheque for Rs 300 million for the Nilwala River Scheme?
A: President has remembered, only, one year after the government was established. They are addressing an issue which they choose and getting work out of it. There should be investigations into these. At a glance one can see that these people remember things suddenly. Every issue should be addressed with equal pressure.
?: This budget also will get passed, similar to the previous, will it not?
A: This budget has seriously fooled the people. It is like giving Rs 10 and taking Rs 100 away. It is a budget with a target and a vision of robbing the people on a large-scale. It is a document full of fines and taxes. We are against it.
?: Even though you are against it, you are unable to defeat it?
A: With this government a budget cannot be defeated. As votes are required for the budget they are giving bribes to parliamentarians, like MPs who are expecting vehicles to be bought for them, vote for the budget. This is harmful to the people. While this government is in existence, no Bill that requires the sale of the country’s resources or anything else that needs to be passed in Parliament including the budget, cannot be defeated. What has to be done is to defeat both this system and the government. For this purpose, there has to be a powerful intervention in society, but that is not visible, very little of what we speak and do is getting to society.
?: What you are saying is that Parliamentarians are provided with privileges targeting the budget?
A: This government is maintained by bribes and tips. Now it has become a habit to give tips. Policies and politics of both parties are dead. It is only the JVP that has a policy based political campaign.
?: MP Chathura Senaratne made a statement that the JVP accepted money, in a toilet, to bring this government to power?
A: These are the people who are in the lavatories. Their mouths are also like lavatory pits. Recently Comrade Anura revealed an incident where a government minister had been given millions of rupees from the President’s Fund to obtain treatment. The small man does not get even five cents. He was hurt because of that, which is why he said that. If a fool is pointed the moon, the fool will not look at the moon but at the finger. This is what is happening.