All involved in Bond Scam should be tried

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By 2018-01-03

By Anuradha Herath

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Propaganda Secretary, Member of Parliament Vijitha Herath says the JVP is contesting for power in rural areas after its showdown at Tissamaharama.

Following are excerpts:

What has the JVP done up to now for rural communities to vote for them?

A: We have shown our capabilities at Tissamaharama. It was nominated as the best Pradeshiya Sabha in Sri Lanka several times consecutively. We have shown a shining example of how a village can be developed. There is potential for Pradeshiya Sabhas and Urban Councils in the whole country to be developed in a similar manner. We have proved it by action. That is why we ask for the power to develop rural areas.

Will people have confidence in the JVP?

A: It is clear that people are fed up with the Green and Blue parties that ruled for seventy years, which left behind only corruption, fraud and wastage. There is a belief in people that the JVP is the only party that can provide rural communities with a clean administration.

What is your plan to obtain power as a single party?

A: We intend to put forward a programme to improve all institutions. All candidates will make proposals on the basic changes needed for every division. We are contesting for power in rural areas with a programme to develop it. We will introduce a programme for all tasks done by the Pradeshiya Sabha, such as administration, protecting the environment, social welfare, running pre-schools, conducting maternity clinics and even maintaining cemeteries.

What about youth representation?

A: There are a large number of young male and female candidates with us to improve rural areas. We have a female representation that even exceeds the required amount. All religious and ethnic groups are with us. A number of nomination lists of several parties were rejected. Yet, none of our lists were rejected, which proves our efficiency.

Whilst the Hand, Lotus Bud and the Elephant always get votes the Bell continues to suffer. Why are people so reluctant to vote for you?

A: In our country people have always clung on to the Green and Blue parties saying that their blood runs in either colour by birth. That is why they continue to vote for these two parties in spite of so much fraud and corruption taking place.

Instead of blaming voters forever should you not be closer to them and more tactful?

A: There is a change in the situation now. Since 1994, those two parties have not been able to get at least a simple majority in Parliament. That is why they had to form a coalition government this time. People are fed up with both parties. There are no die-hard UNP or SLFP voters amongst the present generation. Those who said that their blood is either green or blue have now realized that their blood is in fact red. So, this time the situation will change. It was changing at elections in the last two decades.

The JVP had a good reputation in elections in the beginning. Is the present lack of it because of malpractices?

A: Admiration for us has not decreased. Our votes got reduced at different times. The number of MPs became less.

What was the reason for the reduction in votes?

A: There were a few political reasons. For example the number of MPs decreased during the war. This changed again. JVP is the party that is closest to the hearts of the people of our country; it is the party that is loved by people. We believe that people's confidence in us has increased like never before.

What has happened to the JVP's poster campaign?

A: It is going on well.

But your poster campaign those days was unmatched. Some are of the opinion that the campaign machinery broke down with MP Wimal Weerawansa leaving the party?

A: No political campaign has come up in this country to match our propaganda model. Even today, it is we who are in the forefront of publicity strategies and propaganda models. The hand-drawn poster culture came in the '70s. At that time both digital and printing technology was not developed. Today we use new technology. Most people said JVP's Bell was silenced and Muthuhettigama in Galle hammered the last nail in its coffin. But despite all that, the party is marching forward.

The JVP is attacking SLFP and the Lotus Bud right and left. There are allegations that its direct benefit goes to UNP, is this true?

A: The JVP has always worked for the benefit of the people of this country and not for any political party. All these three parties are the same to us. They have one policy. Our sole aim is to defeat all these three parties and make the people win.

Regardless of what you say, according to political analysts the benefit is to the UNP?

A: What they say is that the SLFP is divided and its benefit goes to the UNP. So it is not out of the UNP's own ability. The UNP should have the capacity to work for itself and move forward through its own policies. If the UNP says that they benefit from SLFP's division then that only proves their inability.

Haven't rural areas been entrusted to the two main parties up until now?

A: It was, but by being so that money was robbed and bribes were taken during the past, which even extended to garbage collection, building roads and fixing street lights. Commissions earned instead of meeting the needs of the people. Local government institutions were converted to dens of fraud and bribery. The country's economy was ruined by pillaging the Central Bank. Now local government institutions are going to be robbed.

Will the JVP get more representation with the 60% first-past-the-post and 40% proportional representation system?

A: Definitely. JVP can win most electoral divisions. We have already put forward qualifying candidates at electoral division level.

So, we will definitely win a number of electoral divisions. We will also be able to get candidates elected by proportional representation, too.

If the Hand and the Lotus Bud come together after the elections will the chairman posts of Pradeshiya Sabhas go to their old chairmen again?

A: The rogues and the corrupt get together, just as birds of a feather flock together. That is why we tell people not to elect womanizers, rogues and the corrupt again.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says there is no use complaining to the Elections Commissioner about 'distributing goods', what do you think?

A: The biggest joke is Mahinda Rajapaksa saying it. It was in his time that money was distributed out of Samurdhi funds along with white cloth. It is a joke that those who are saying it are the ones who actually did it. This is the first election to be held under the Elections Commission. We will be watching on how they will hold the election in a fair manner. Distribution of goods by whatever party is wrong. We will see how the Commission practises what it preaches.

According to Minister S.B. Dissanayake the NFF has got washed out now and only the dregs remain?

A: In any case, a political party without a philosophy or a vision has no future. A party is found on a philosophy. If not, it won't last long. That is what is being proved now. When Weerawansa was a minister the whole ministry was the party. All posts were held by top rankers within the party. Now, all this is lost and it has been reduced to pieces. Before long, all that remains will disappear too.

Why is the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) that was to challenge the JVP not contesting in the election?

A: The FSP was never a challenge to us. It was started in the last Presidential Election and it only managed to gain 70,000-odd votes from the entire country. They are not contesting because they do not possess the ability.

The Joint Opposition states that although the JVP shouts itself hoarse in front of the media, they are destroying the country in contract with the UNP. Is this true?

A: The ministerial posts, perks and privileges of that group were lost along with their defeat. Those who shout like that are those who washed pots and pans and licked bones at the Rajapaksa Walawwa those days. In their minds they think that they lost their perks and privileges because of us. They hate us and always see us in that light. We pity them as we go on our journey. Who saved Weerawansa in the passport incident and Shiranthi in the Siriliya account affair? It was the Prime Minister. That is the Mahinda-Ranil deal. Are we the ones who are open for deals? The whole country knows about it.

Why can't the JVP that gives direct logical answers to every question, give a direct reply to this charge?

A: We have proved it by our practice. We are fighting against the rogues and robbers of both the UNP and SLFP. We are fighting against the economic policy of this Government. We voted against giving tax concessions and the selling of the Hambantota Port.

Those who shout about it now, did not so much as come to vote against it when those concessions were given. Mahinda Rajapaksa who talks against the Budget did not vote against it. When the no-confidence motion was brought against Ravi Karunanayake, Mahinda Rajapaksa did not vote. We voted and proved it. We are not bound to answer anyone.

There was a grave charge of bribery against MP Ravi Karunanayake. You voted against him. It became a hot topic in the media.

What was the action taken?

A: The law should be activated not only against Ravi Karunanayake but against all those who were connected to the Bonds scam. Now the Government says Special Courts will be set up. We challenge the Government to hear the Bonds scam case as the first case in the Court so set up.

People say that prices of goods will not decrease with the relief package to be handed out by the Government?

A: There is a lot of relief given at election time. The Rajapaksa Government also did the same along with their white cloths. No matter what they give, there is no hope for this Government. The people have realized it.

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