JVP sees red
Posted on June 11th, 2019

Courtesy The Island

The JVP is drumming up support for what it calls a countrywide campaign to oust the incumbent government. With its chips down, thanks to its honeymoon with the UNP, it is desperate to shore up its crumbling image and prevent further erosion of its vote bank. Having failed to win at least a single local government body at last year’s mini polls and suffered a crushing defeat at last week’s Education Employees’ Cooperative Society election, it is obviously trying to bite off more than it can chew.

Whether this government should be ousted or not is a matter that is best left to the voting public. After all, the JVP leapt to the UNP’s defence when President Sirisena and his former boss, Mahinda Rajapaska, tried to dislodge the UNP-led government last year.

If the JVP is really fed up with the present dispensation it can move a motion calling for the dissolution of Parliament and seek the support of other parties to secure its passage so that there will be a general election. Why should the JVP waste time and energy and, above all, worsen traffic congestion by invading roads to hold protests when a legal remedy is available? President Sirisena would have succeeded in dissolving Parliament last year and holding a general election but for stiff resistance from the UNP, the JVP, the TNA and the SLMC. The SLPP is also calling for parliamentary polls. Why doesn’t the JVP give it a go?

The JVP has a history of sleeping with the two main parties alternately and taking them on afterwards. It joined forces with the SLFP to topple the UNP government in 1970, when it was instrumental in ensuring Mahinda Rajapaksa’s first election victory. Mahinda Wijesekera, the JVP student union leader at the Sri Jayewardenepura University, at that time, campaigned really hard for young Rajapaksa. The JVP took up arms against the SLFP-led United Front government, in 1971. After the UNP’s mammoth victory at the 1977 general election, the JVP honeymooned with Prime Minister (and later President) J. R. Jayewardene, who released its leaders including Rohana Wijeweera from prison. The JVP came to be dubbed Jayewardene Vijeweera Peramuna as a result. It staged its second uprising against the JRJ government about nine years later. It started playing political footsie with JRJ’s successor, Ranasinghe Premadasa, who became President in 1988, and then resumed its spree of violence in a bid to oust his government. In 1994, it threw in its lot with Chandrika Kumaratunga, albeit unofficially; 10 years later it joined her government and accepted Cabinet positions before pulling out of it one year later to embark on a campaign against that administration. In 2005, it backed Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential fray and a few years later sided with the UNP in a bid to bring down his government. In 2010, it went all out, together with the UNP, to defeat Mahinda in the presidential race, but in vain. It succeeded in its endeavour in 2015, when it supported Maithripala Sirisena, the dark horse. It started co-habiting with the UNP and the SLFP; the yahapalana government was a menage a trois. Now, it is trying to oust the UNP-led government!

What would be the situation if the JVP succeeded in ousting the government by any chance? It considers Mahinda Rajapaksa the devil incarnate and the SLPP a den of thieves. If the present dispensation falls due to JVP protests, the SLPP may form the next government. What will the JVP do in such an eventuality? A situation similar to what we experienced last October is likely to arise with the SLFP and the SLPP sharing power. Won’t the JVP have to join forces with the UNP again to stage protests?

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