JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake has invited opposition leader Sajith Premadasa for an open dialogue on their respective political policies instead of grumbling at every opportunity.
Two days ago, Premadasa quoted from the JVP website and accused the party of promoting an ultra-extremist socialist ideal of banning ownership of private property.
In response, Dissanayake said the party’s policy manifesto was first launched 43 year ago, in 1980, when world politics was totally different from what it is today.
The JVP leader was addressing a discourse titled ‘Why this commotion?’ organised by the NPP in Colombo yesterday (19).
With various political camps coming up now and a new world order in existence, the JVP is a flexible political movement that makes changes to suit a changing world.
Accordingly, it introduced a five-year plan in 2000 and enhanced it in 2015 and again in 2019.
Without seeing any of those, Premadasa is clinging onto something that existed in 1980, he said, and urged him to get updated in politics.
Full text of his speech:
On the one hand, the government is working agitatedly to prevent the election. On the other hand, there is a campaign to unravel the National People’s Power (NPP) in election campaigns. Recently we saw the Leader of the Opposition joining in the act. All these incidents prove that our opponents are unable to present a strong political critique of us. Therefore, they have to create mud, slander, fake information and fiction against us. The government, the opposition leader’s team, the camps of Maithripala Sirisena and Dayasiri have stirred up these various camps. What is going on? Why is that happening?
If you look at the history of our country, politics has been built around a group of wealthy elite families. Who ruled the country? The Senanayakes, the Jayawardenes, and now the Wickramasinghes. It is a family corporation. Next the Bandaranaikes; SWD, Sirimavo, Chandrika; the Bandaranaike elite. Next is the Rajapaksa generation. These people inherited the rule of our country for a long time.
First female Prime Minister and first President were Bandaranaikes. The first Prime Minister was a Senanayake. There is a pattern like this. The State Council was represented by D.A. Rajapaksa, and now the children have come to rule the country. The politics of our country was centred in the hands of a small family corporation. Not only in the higher levels, but also regionally. If you go to Kalutara, the regional political camp is in the hands of the Wickramanayakas and the Welgamas. If you go to Galle, Richard Pathirana, Rupa Karunathilaka, Gamage, Dodangoda, Dodangodala’s son-in-law, Chandima. If you go to Matara, there are several families like Mahinda Yapa. If you go to Hambantota, only one family has the power there. If it comes to Gampaha, it is in the hands of the Ranatungas and the Bandaranaikes. If you go to Anuradhapura, Chandrani Bandara, Mahindasoma, Gamage, K.B. Ratnayake, son-in-law Semasinghe, present Semasinghe, SM. Chandrasena, his younger brother S.M. Ranjith can be named as such families. If you go to Matale, Janaka Bandara, Kaviratna and Aluvihare are in power. In Nuwara Eliya, it is in the hands of families such as Renuka Herath, S.B. Dissanayake and Thondaman.
It is the same today. If you look at this parliament, the majority of representatives represent the parliament from their grandfather’s era. If a new person comes to the parliament, no one is given a chance to enter politics unless you submit to the patronage of these families. For example, the son of D. V. Upul has come under the command of Namal. A handful of people are brought to carry their bags and files. But the legacy of the entire political culture is only in the hands of those few elite families. They are also aligning the next generation for the future. The stakes of this political culture have spread to the past, present and future; after President Premadasa to his son; after Mahinda to his son Namal.
Today, a non-elite politics has emerged against the elite politics. So their comfortable cradle is shaking. The people who used to transfer power here and there very easily, who did politics from their balconies, who used politics as their property, are now scared and worried.
Public opinion against this elite politics is now building and forming. These families are also worried about that. There was a large community of people in our country who thought and believed that they could live by whatever dripped from the fingers of the elite politicians. During election time, rice is distributed, sarees are distributed, alcohol is distributed, even boxes of matches are distributed. The poor families in the East were given five thousand rupee notes put inside box of matches. The rulers understood from their political experience that there is a section of people in the country who live by picking whatever dripped from the fingers of the politicians. Due to the recent political struggle (aragalaya) and a long-term strong political and ideological struggle, today the people of the country are realizing that this evil system needs to change. They are very determined and hopeful about it. Therefore, the era of politicians hypnotizing the people with their halos around them is over. Today, in front of the platforms of those political camps, there are only traces of old ruins. We cannot see anything else. So they are shocked. These politicians also had small gangs of thugs in rural areas. The villagers used to be scared of them. Villagers were afraid to even go to other party meetings. Local thugs were protecting this ugly politics in the village. Now the people of our country are being transformed into a people who do not submit to all those pressures and they resist it. Will this not shock the rulers?
For a long time, this country had both micro politics and macro politics. Governments and their policies were made by bigoted politicians. They were showing that they would build the country. In those political fields, those elite politicians were performing stunts. Our politics was at the micro level by writing a book, holding a conference, and presenting an ideology. The politics of power struggle was not relevant to us. Today, the national people’s power has also entered the field hitherto dominated by elite politicians.
We recently held a large conference for the business and industrial sector. This field was considered the hunting ground of those elite politicians until now. Today, many of those industrialists and businessmen have come together to listen to us and have started questioning us. We used to be allergic to them while we were allergic to them. We have now gone to their field. Lawyers in this country have traditionally chosen the elite political camp. But now lawyers across the country are rallying around our movement. Now, a new movement has broken into the ground that the rulers had occupied until now as their property. Why wouldn't they be worried? If our movement was representing a very small social sector in the country, it would not be a problem for them. Today, the National People’s Power has stormed into their defence lines; challenging a regime that assumed it could never be challenged. That is why when we hold a business conference, they conduct part two of it.
There has traditionally been antagonism between the military and the Left movement. Today, the most senior officers of Sri Lanka’s retired armed forces, as well as the police, are rallying around us. So rulers would not be worried? Until now, they thought it was their field. Today, we have strengthened the NPP by gathering a large number of Generals, Admirals, Vice Marshals, including the former Commander in the East. So why wouldn't they panic? Who was first alarmed? Sarath Fonseka. Now he says that Zaharan’s movement was developed during the period of the former Eastern Commander. We pity him. They spread false information about Palitha Fernando. Sarath Fonseka does not know that Palitha and this Palitha are two different people. We are attacked by anything that comes to their hands. How much these people are panicking!
The ugly political map of this country was drawn from father to son, from son to grandson. That is why the former President Mahinda Rajapakse comes to the parliament crutches even on crutches to become an MP. The politics of this country was based on their lineage; trying to carry forward the lineage. Maithree has lined up his son in politics. Why won’t Ranil Wickramasinghe give up the party leadership? He is waiting until Ruwan Wijewardena is mature enough to be the party leader. Their power project is now under threat. What is the situation after this? What will happen if you don’t panic at this time and let the power take over? Not only that, they are thinking about what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you how much these people are spending public wealth for their personal activities.
These are just two examples.
Sagala Ratnayake; He lost the election; Presidential Adviser; salary Rs. 150,000, another Rs. 50,000 as secretary allowance. Fuel allowance is Rs. 81,400. Transport allowance is Rs. 50,000. Phone allowance is Rs. 7500. This is the wealth of the people. The wealth collected by taxing the children’s milk packets, bar of soap, pen, book, dhal, diesel. That wealth is spent generously for their enjoyment. Sagala Ratnayake, who does not have a mandate, has only one qualification to be where he is: that he is close to Ranil.
Akila Viraj; salary is Rs. 100,000; fuel allowance is Rs 66,825. The vehicle provided is worth multi-millions. Now the luxurious lives they lead by looting public money are being questioned and under threat. President Premadasa died in 1993. 30 years have passed since his death. His wife has been living in a home paid for by the government for 30 years. She has been driving government vehicles for the past 30 years. All 30 years, she has been provided with food and drink from government money. The government has been paying the electricity and water bills for 30 years. Now those happy lives are threatened by the current political climate. We say with responsibility that we are going to cancel all these privileges. We say it publicly. The political circle that enjoys exploiting the wealth of the people is now under threat. So won't these people be afraid?
Lakhs of rupees have been spent to take care of former presidents and their families. In each year’s budget, more than 100 lakhs of public wealth is being spent on Chandrika, Gotabhaya, Maithreepala and Hema. Are they valuable artifacts that should be cared for and protected by the people?
These discarded politicians are being maintained at a greater cost than what is spent on protecting historic antiquities in this country. A strong voice is developing among the people against this type of politics. So you should be worried.
These ruling gangs have not only squandered the public’s wealth, but are acting without regard to the law of the country. The ruler is not subjected to the law to which everyone else is subjected to. During the presidency of Maithripala Sirisena, the constitution was violated on two occasions. At one time a 7-member panel and at another time a 5-member panel of the Supreme Court decided that he had violated the Constitution. Gotabhaya Rajapakse spent public money in violation of the Constitution without convening the parliament during the covid pandemic. According to the Constitution, the power of financial oversight lies with the parliament. He acted arbitrarily regardless of this. Currently, Ranil Wickremesinghe is violating the Constitution. Citizens at the top levels are not subjected to the law of the land. Those people can break the law any way they want. No one can question it. Now there is Sri Lanka, on the brink of forming a ruling power that does justice to everyone equally. So those people should be scared. Our country’s Housing Minister, the Chief Organizer of the government, is sentenced by the High Court with a 4 years prison term and a fine of two and a half crores has been imposed. He is convicted in the High Court. Later he appealed. That’s a different thing. But currently, the above penalties have been imposed. He is now the Chief Organizer of the ruling party in the parliament. Where is the fair law? Of course, they should be afraid.
A man who was found guilty of shooting and killing a man during an election and sentenced to the gallows holds the position of State Minister. A group that has no regard to any of the civilities and social conventions of a country is in power. Now the people are looking for a different movement, with the hope of building a fair law for everyone. The NPP is being built for this hope. So the rulers should be afraid.
Those who stole billions of people’s wealth are at large. They are not accountable to the people of the country. During the Yahapalana government, a letter was sent by the Criminal Investigation Department, asking Shiranti Rajapaksa to come to the CID. What was Ranil Wickramasinghe’s decision? Shiranthi is a former first lady. An elite woman. It is not good to call her to the CID. The CID was asked to go to her house. What was the case? She collected public money and started the “Siriliya account” and stole money from it. That is the real story. After the investigation of the CID, it was decided to arrest her. The cabinet represented by Ranil and Sajith decided not to arrest her.
Sajith’s sister was caught with 5000 fake notes worth 20 lakhs. Even if someone in the village is caught with 2 fake notes, they will be remanded for at least two weeks. That should be questioned. Dhanasiri Amarasinghe said in a TV interview that Mahinda Rajapaksa intervened and saved her. Mahinda Rajapaksa publicly said that we made a mistake by keeping the files hidden. Where is this country today? People are now waiting for a country with a law that will do justice to everyone. The force that represents that expectation is the NPP. So those guys should panic.
Ranil Wickremesinghe is afraid of losing power and facing more charges. Another group is very upset these days. They bring different types of people to the stage. They should be afraid. Air Lanka signed an agreement in 2014 to buy 08 Airbuses from French Airbus Company. Later investigations revealed that the French Airbus Company had paid a commission of two million dollars to Kapila Chandrasena. This was the deal when ordering airbuses. Then in 2015, this agreement was cancelled. The agreement to purchase 4 Airbuses was cancelled. $115 million was paid to cancel this deal. If the election expense is calculated in dollars, at most, it will be around 20 million. Who was the minister at that time? Kabir Hashim, so don’t you need to worry now?
There is the report of the Presidential Commission on the recruitment of a large number of employees in the Ministry of Highways. A lot of damage and loss has been done as a result. There are huge allegations about contracts. Who is the accused minister? Lakshman Kiriella. Here are the people on the stage that say it is going to catch thieves. Cattles were brought to Sri Lanka. A large number of cattle died. It caused a loss of three thousand million rupees to the government. At that time, the Minister of Livestock was P. Harrison. Shouldn’t he be worried? Who took some of those cattle? Vijithamuni Soysa bought 50 of them. Lakshman Wasantha Perera took about 100 more. At that time the minister and now SLFP Organizer of Matale. So if there is an investigation, they should be worried, right? Is the Central Bank bond a fraud that should be allowed to fade with time? The reports say that the loss is 11000 million (1100 crores). Should those who wrote books defending that incident and received money from Aloysius be allowed to sit on the platform and point the finger at the NPP? There is an expectation of the people that the stolen property of the people in this country should be handed back and that the fraudsters should be punished. The NPP is resolved to fulfil the people’s expectations. So these rulers should be afraid of that.
The enemy is panicking. Even young women are used on the websites and the groups have resorted to political slanders of the lowest level. I think a scene of the main and biggest conflict happening in Sri Lankan politics is now visible. What they have is slander, mud political conflict. We love this country and its people immensely. We work with a purpose to change this country with a great purpose. We work with a heartfelt commitment to provide a better life to the people of this country. We chose this politics for that. But on the other hand, there is a political camp that depends on the people, stands on people’s shoulders, steals the people’s wealth, considers the people inferior to them, dominates the people, and does politics from the balcony. The existence of power in that political camp is facing a decisive threat. So they are worried. This situation is not normal. This is not going to be a simple traditional power transfer. Would they give up easily? They are doing everything for their survival.
Sajith tried to build a conversation about private property by quoting a part of a document available on our party’s website. The said manifesto was adopted by a Representatives Conference in 1979. It was released in 1980; 43 years ago. World politics was different at that time. There was a strong socialist camp. With the help of that camp, leftist movements were being built around the world. Those leftist movements sometimes even fought with arms. There were programs of the left corresponding to that era. What has happened after 43 years? The socialist camp has collapsed. New political camps are being created. US-centric politics, China-centric politics, Eurocentric politics, Russia-centred politics are creating different types of power bases at different levels of the world. The world has moved forward using technology. People’s thoughts, wishes, attitudes and hopes have changed rapidly. Communication and technology have changed by leaps. Today is a different world than 1980. JVP is not a stagnant political movement. We are a flexible political movement that understands the changes happening in the world, society and economy very well, assimilates them, and can make changes accordingly; We are not fragile. We can take very good turns without fragmenting and without breaking down.
In 2000, we presented a five-year plan corresponding to that time. In 2015, we again developed a program to suit the new conditions; The “Conscience of the Land”; An agenda called our vision for the country was presented. Again in 2019, an agenda called the “Hope of the Land” was presented. We presented our policies covering all sectors including economy, education and how to develop those sectors. Sajith Premadasa tweets holding on to some information frp, 1980. Stay updated Sajith. That’s all we have to say. You don’t understand politics. Sajith is using new technical terms these days. It is good to learn such new things. But, also be updated with advanced politics. Sajith represents conservative politics. There are only slanders on his stage. What is advanced politics? The leaders of each political party engage in dialogue with other leaders about party policies in front of the people. Let’s have an open conversation about our program and your political views. I assure you; we will not ask about the counterfeit money of your sister. We will not ask what happened to the Central Cultural Fund. We will not ask about the hiring of employees without the approval of the Housing Authority. Let’s talk so that people understand who can develop the country. Let’s stop insulting each other and have a conversation.
What is Ranil’s next move? The goal is to make this transfer of power safe for him and his clan. He is the current protector and representative of this clan. That clan knows this. That is why they made him president. Since the day he became president, he has been the enemy of the people. Especially with the middle class. He is angry with the people.
From generation to generation, they won the elections in Colombo, but he was defeated in the last election. He is angry with the people for taking away their heritage. In 2020, people deprived him of his ancestral heritage. They take revenge on the people by increasing the electricity bill. Takes revenge on the children by cutting off electricity during the A/L examination. A decision is taken that the electricity will not be cut from the 17th, after the examination. They tried to create the opinion that it would be better if the price was increased and electricity was provided. The issue of surgery and lack of medicine is a lie. Some medicines are not issued. Various reasons and opinions are being created for not holding an election. Medicines are hidden and an opinion is created such as “what is the use of an election without medicine?” This is similar to the Easter attack. Presidential Adviser Madduma Bandara made a proposal to postpone the election. I have it. Various strategies have been proposed. A conspiracy in order to delay the oil ships is now made in order to create the opinion “no use of election without oil” It is the program made by Sunanda Madduma Bandara and Piyasena Dissanayake. Ranil is the saboteur who is destroying the democracy of our country now. He expects a violent response from society. Through that, his purpose will be fulfilled. Today Ranil has completely lost the land of the people to do politics. There is no way he can even hold a meeting. Ranil is a politician alienated from the people. That is why he is now doing politics in a small area using tools of suppression. He is trying to create a conflict and call us to that field. Ranil is JR’s carbon copy. JR’s game was played with a parliamentary power of 5/6. People have not given such power to Ranil.
What should we do? We have to come forward to protect democracy, in a peaceful, stable and strong manner. The people of the North faced the consequences of losing democracy. 1980 Development Councils were proposed as a solution to the problem of the people of the North. JR thought that there could not be any place in Sri Lanka where his power did not extend. He had no power in the Jaffna Municipal Council. Therefore, in the Jaffna Development Council elections, he filled the ballot boxes while using the police force. Filled ballot boxes were taken by train to Jaffna. The Jaffna library was set on fire. Those citizens were not given the opportunity to express their opinion democratically. Therefore, JR pushed them down an undemocratic path. In 1977, the Tamil United Liberation Front became the opposition in Parliament. Mr. Amirthalingam became the Leader of the Opposition. They worked within the democratic structure. They boycotted the parliament and left in protest of the 6th Amendment. The opportunity for the people of the North to express their voices in the democratic structure was blocked. Therefore, the armed movement was created as the only way to express their opinion. That is the result of losing democracy. The same is true for us. If there had been a general election then, the JVP would have been represented in the parliament in 1982. Then the history of 88/89 would be written in a different way. We have suffered enough as a society and as a movement as a result of banning the party and depriving it of engaging in democracy.
Therefore, we must defeat Ranil Rajapaksa’s attempt to shrink the country’s democracy again. We are a people who learn from tragedies. That is why we do not fall for Ranil’s lies. We will not get caught in the death traps he has set. These men are now throwing different types of balls to break up the different social strata that we have collected together. Sajith thinks that our government would repossess the cow that is in your home and give milk to the owner of the cow. What we do is to provide a pasture to the houses that raise cows; provide the best vaccination; facilitate the neighbour to buy milk and make yogurt; give the necessary financial facilities and technology to the person making that yogurt. That is our economic policy. They are now telling baseless stories without any logic. We don’t talk about them anymore. This is the last time we will respond to him.
If Ranil does not allow us to follow the path of the will of the people, what path do we have to choose? Along with the lineage of the king, the next king was ruled during the Monarchy era. Then during the colonial era, the Queen’s representative ruled us. After that, universal suffrage has been with us for a long time now. With the vote, the people choose their ruler. Whether it is wrong is a different matter. The social change demanded by the young people in the recent political struggle in the progressive movements are demanding change in this country. How do you tell the people of the country to choose Ranil instead of that expectation? This is not a question about JVP. This is a question about the future dreams of the people of our country. Ranil has no right to shoot down these expectations and hopes.
Are we the only ones who should stand up against this problem? Others should also come forward. When the people took to the streets, the Chamber of Commerce announced that the economy would be disrupted. I questioned the Chamber of Commerce about their opinion on cancelling election. We are very grateful to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka. They made an announcement and said that they call on everyone to defeat this anti-democratic move. We invite all the professionals of the country to combine the tax issue as well as the issue of democracy in the country.
We especially invite the political parties representing the North to join hands against the shrinking of democracy. Now Karu Jayasuriya, who stood for democracy and a fair society, says that small votes do not matter at this time when he received an award. Governments cannot be changed with these type of people. This is a part of the same program that we mentioned before, various people were made to say that there is no need for an election. We need to expose the people who are hiding behind false democratic positions to the people. This battle is not a battle we have to fight alone. This is a democratic battle that must be fought collectively.
We would have been surprised if our opponents were not alarmed. While Johnston was in remand prison, two Members of Parliament (who are now in the opposition)brought food and water for him. That’s how these people behave. Now those people have to face the truth. The era has come when their false patriotism will be revealed. That’s why they are so panicked. They are rapidly turning us into their enemy and attacking us. Various kinds of conspiracies are being launched against us. We understand the panic. Let’s not worry. We will gain experiences from that. Let’s learn. By doing so, we will work to make this year the most significant turning point in Sri Lankan politics that will protect democracy by conducting and winning the election.