“The theme of the JVP at this Local Government Election is “Power to build village & defeat corruption”. There is a task to build the country and this task has to be started from the local government councils. Despite the local government councils having to fulfill a massive responsibility for the villages and towns, they have become places where people have to waste their time and they have become hostile to the masses. As such, the local government councils that have become enemies of the people should be transformed into friendly places for the people,” says the Leader of the JVP Anura Dissanayaka.
He said this at a press conference held at the JVP head office at Pelawatta today (12th). The General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva and the Member of the Central Committee Attorney at Law Sunil Watagala were also present.
Mr. Dissanayaka said, “The term of local government councils terminated in March 2015. The election for these councils has not been held for the last 2 ½ years. As such, there was a need in the country to hold a local government election. Holding the election got delayed as the delimitation process had not been completed and the necessity of a new electoral system for the country.Delimitation process was completed in February, 2017 and by September 2017 the local government act was passed. However, certain sections of the government took various moves to postpone the election further. A group from the government took a court order to get the election postponed. However, those who filed petitions to get the election postponed themselves were made to withdraw the petitions and now an opportunity has come to hold the election.
This Local Government Election is held according to a new electoral system. The earlier system was a proportional voting system with a preferential system. When Athawulla was the subject minister in 2012, Basil Rajapaksa fixed a new electoral system. It was totally a distorted system. This system would have reflected a distorted choice of the people instead of representing the just wises of the people.As such, there was the need for a new electoral system. The new system is a 100% proportionate electoral system and a fair system for the people to elect their representatives. There was a massive opposition to the preferential system in the country. Our political culture was shattered. As such, the preferential system has been removed from the new system. In our country 51% of the population is women. Also, the majority of foreign employees, employees in estate and garment sectors are women. The task of the woman in the society is massive. However, in the political arena, the representation of women has been limited. The new electoral system has prepared provisions for women to enter politics. Also, the new system would get a people’s representative who would be directly responsible for the ward. As such, this is a favourable electoral system for the village as well as the country. However, this advantage would be lost if the people do not participate in the election. Hence, we ask the people to pay more attention to this election. We also ask them to draw their attention to elect the Member and the political movement that the ward deserves.
As the JVP we have completed getting signatures to many nomination lists. We have also handed over nomination papers to several local councils. The nomination papers that should be handed over between the 18th and the 21st have been already completed. We have been able to complete our lists of candidates before any other political party. The nominations of the UNP, Maithri faction and the Mahinda faction are in crisis. The reason for this is most of those in their nomination lists are those who do not think about the village, the country or the people but who selfishly want to get things done for themselves. They wait until the last moment to enter their names in the nomination lists so that they could get into someone’s list. If they do not get nominated from Mahinda faction they would go to Maithri faction. Those who cannot get their names entered in the lists of Maithri faction jump to the Mahinda faction or to the UNP. They are not concerned about the village or the people. Preparation of nomination papers has shown what their political culture is. The JVP has also completed preparing nomination lists for several local government councils in the North and the East. We are contesting councils in Jaffna and Batticaloa districts which we have never contested before.
The JVP doesn’t contest the Bandarawela Urban Council and Bandarawela Pradeshiya Sabha. The JVP joins the People’s Movement against Uma Oya Multi Destructive Project to contest for these two councils as an independent group. For, the two local councils have been assigned a massive responsibility regarding the Uma Oya destruction. As such the Movement has decided to contest for the two local councils jointly with the JVP. The decision was taken as the Uma Oya struggle should be maintained despite the election campaign. If not the Uma Oya struggle would get less prominence. The decision is to prevent any division in the movement as many parties are involved in the struggle.
The JVP has made arrangements to hold the National Convention of Candidates contesting LG election at Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium on the 17th. We expect to discuss the political situation in the country and the task of the candidates. The inaugural rally of this campaign will be at Anuradhapura on the 27th. We have already arranged to have rallies throughout the island and small pocket rallies in villages.
The theme of the JVP at this Local Government Election is “Power to build village & defeat corruption”. There is a task to build the country and this task has to be started from the local government councils. Despite the local government councils having to fulfil a massive responsibility for the villages and towns, they have become places where people have to waste their time and they have become hostile to the masses. As such, the local government councils that have become enemies of the people should be transformed into friendly places for the people.
Politics today has become an extremely corrupt occupation. Today politics is the most profitable business. Today our country has become a country where from the President to the Palath Sabha Members are connected with bribe, fraud, corruption and waste. The Parliament has become a rogues den in the country while the provincial den of rogues is eh provincial council. Locally the Pradeshiya Sabhas have become dens of small-time rogues. As such, we have the responsibility of cleaning up these local government councils that have become dens for rogues. Cleaning has to be done at a national scale but we could start cleaning from the villages and towns. The people have to play an important role here. They should close down councils that have become rogues’ dens and clean them up. What can the other political parties that contest the election have as their themes? Rajapaksa faction cannot any longer use a theme against ‘frauds and corruption’. They cannot say they would act against frauds and corruption. For, local government councils were ruled by them for long periods. They cannot say they would develop the village through Pradeshiya Sabhas as many who were involved in frauds, corruption, waste and rape of women are still with the Rajapaksa clique. Hence all they can say is their usual communal talk of ‘the country is going to be divided’ and to vote for them to prevent the country being divided. At the last presidential election, the ‘electric chair’ was mentioned and asked for votes to protect the country. They use the patriotism in our people for their political advantage. They smear themselves with false patriotism to do their politics. The people would be able to see these pseudo-patriots selling themselves. Their patriotism would get washed if they walk in the rain.
What would Ranil say? He would say people should vote for him to build the village the way he built the country. How can a ruler who sells the resources of the country develop a country? Hambanthota Harbour was sold. The oil tank complex at Trincomalee and Maththala airport and the East jetty of Colombo Harbour are to be sold. What would happen to the tanks in the village if such a ruler who gets power? The UNP too would not be able to say they would end corruption. Once they got power they committed the bond scam. If they get power for the village they would finish the banks.
What can Maithri faction say? They would ask votes to prevent the party being broken. Maithri would come out with his usual lamentation asking people not to allow the party built by Mr. Bandaranayaka to be destroyed.
What is it for us if their parties are destroyed? People need not be worried about their parties disintegrating. All these three parties are without any new political vision and are political movements that are defunct.
The JVP is the movement with a new political vision and that takes a new message to the masses. We would introduce village leadership to the people, build village organizations and take the message of our party to all residences. We would visit every home during the election campaign and we ask the people to rally with the JVP to partake in a new political culture.”
Responding to questions raised by the media Mr. Dissanayaka said, “People have been inconvenienced due to the train strike. Most of the people who come to Colombo use the train. As such, the people are ill at ease. However, the conflict is not between the people and the trade unions. The government wants to create a conflict between the people and the trade unions. The real issue is the failure of the government to pay attention to the cause of the strike. The responsibility of the strike is with the government. At the strike of the Petroleum Corporation employees, the people were inconvenienced. At that time the President promised the trade unions that the agreement to hand over Hambanthota Harbour would be signed only after a discussion with trade unions. When the President gave this promise the agreement had already signed. This government has deceived trade unions. This is why trade unions have decided to take trade union action until the government acts in a responsible manner. It is the government that should mediate to avoid inconveniences to the public. The government should mediate on the issue considering the inconveniences confronted by the students who sit the O/L examination as a priority. We also ask the trade unions to pay a special attention to the inconveniences faced by students and the public.”
The General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva responding to questions by the media said, “Two groups have left our party on two occasions. At the second occasion caused a minor hiccup in our organizations. However, by now, we have built a strong organizational network throughout the country. We have been able to put forward lists of candidates for Jaffna and Batticaloa districts as well at the Local Government election.
There is a difference in this election. The process of contesting would not be completed by merely putting forward lists of candidates. It is necessary to put forward active candidates for the wards. It is necessary to enter genuine representation on the ground as candidates. If we do not have active members at ground level we would not be able to put forward lists of nomination papers for the wards. Those who broke away from our party to build other parties have been thrown to dustbins. Wimal Weerawansa left the party to build a new ’left’. Now he is unable to find neither the left nor the right. The few who were with him are leaving him knowing that he would not do anything positive for the country. The ‘frontline’ party doesn’t even contest the election. They have no reason to tell about it. For, they had polled only 7000 from the whole country at the presidential election. This election needs about 8000 candidates from each party to contest the election. We have had no problem regarding candidates. We have been able to forward lists of candidates without pickings from here and there. The JVP can confront the election on its own without having any alliances.
There is no dearth of candidates for the JVP. Councilors are necessary to make a political change in the country, to stop frauds, corruption and waste and to build the village. As such, a new political culture should be built from the village level. There are many who would like to struggle against fraud and corruption and would like to work for the country but do are not attached to any political party. Hence, the JVP decided to give them an opportunity. We advertised and invited such people who are honest, against fraud and corruption, willing to work voluntarily without expecting any privileges or money and oppose the UNP and SLFP politics to contest as candidates from our party. We received a large number of letters. We have given the opportunity to contest the election for those whom we have selected from the letters we received.
The likes of Weerakumara Dissanayaka are half-baked politicians. There is a saying that ‘devils rush in where angels fear to tread’. There are also others who have learnt politics completely but they get a mentality of possessing for oneself. Such people left the JVP for their selfish needs. When they are unable to get what they look for they leave the place for another. Those who blamed the JVP when leaving have become bankrupt vagabonds. The period of elections in our country is like a having a circus. There are jumpers, acrobats, jugglers, somersaulting and trapeze artists. The country cannot be developed by them. Hence, we have amassed those who want and could build this country. We contest the election with them as our candidates.”