Posted on August 28th, 2015

Dr Sudath Gunasekara 28.8.2015.

JVP in this country started with an aborted coup to overthrow the elected Government in April 1971. They perceived it as a revolution of the proletariat to liberate the suffering masses from the oppression by the bourgeois. Their approach was based on what they have read and heard in communist countries. It was deployed on the principle of class struggle and was primarily based on hatred, jealousy and malice against a section of the society characterized by caste and class. An analysis of the participants of the 1971 uprising clearly shows a polarization the caste factor within the movement. It was a fundamental clash between the haves and have-nots. They perceived the existing system as capitalist exploitation. So they wanted to remove social and economic disparities by force and replace one form of society with another by overthrowing the existing- perhaps leading to an utopian State. But unfortunately they little realized their approach was     not congruent with the traditional socio-economic and ethical system that had got deep rooted on this soil for millennia, mainly fashioned by Buddhist teachings. Even if they had some good intentions behind their actions their remedy was not agreeable with the malady at Home.  As a result entangled within an amorphous tangle they continue to be lost in the political wilderness being unable to find their correct political alignment, that suits this country.

Nevertheless people trusted the JVP in 2001 when they first contested elections as a party which would not allow any political force to divide the country in the face of the separatist agenda of the LTTE.  There were two reasons that prompted the public to support JVP in 201 though they have not forgotten their unpleasant past. Firstly the disgust and aversion to the two main political parties, UNP and SLFP on their miserable performance in the past  and secondly  to test the JVP whether it could be substituted as an alternative party to govern in future. Their policy statement that they ‘will not allow any political force to divide the country’ was the main attraction. So in 2001 the JVP got 9 (16?) seats which was not bad at the first attempt. That trust was maintained at the 2004 general election after its decision to contest the election with the SLFP-led coalition – the United People’s Freedom Alliance. It was undoubtedly a wise decision made in the correct direction. JVP candidates came first in the preferential vote lists in many districts even pushing popular SLFP leaders to the third and fourth place. They also accepted four Ministerial portfolios in the Cabinet and four Deputy Ministerial portfolios. Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Vijitha Herath, K.D. Lalkantha and Chandrasena Wijesinghe were sworn in as Cabinet Ministers and Bimal Ratnayaka, Samantha Vidyaratna and Sunil Handunnetti accepted Deputy Ministerial portfolios. Many people thought that they make a mark as ‘New Brooms’. But their performance was far below the expectations of those who voted them. It may be attributed partly to inexperience and partly to immaturity, though there could have been other reasons as well. This was their first failure to win the confidence of the electorate.

They later withdrew from the Government after sharp differences with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga over the Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure in June 2005.  This was the first reversal in their forward march as a political force. They should have been a little patient and built up as a new brand of potential future national politicians by hard work and by setting a new brand mark in Sri Lanka politics. But they became impatient and miscalculated their apparent strength at the grass root level. In fact they tried to run a political marathon when they were barely able even to walk.

It was during this time a delegation of few young men wanted to meet me. That time I was the President of the Mahanura Sinhala Jesta Purawesiyange Sanvidhanaya. After a preliminary chat over the phone I agreed to meet them and one day we met at the Keppetipola Vaisakadana Samitiya in Mahanuwara by appointment. We met sharp in time as agreed. The then President of the Vaisaka dana Samitiya  Mr Ariyasena and the Secretary of my Association were also present at this discussion. I can’t remember the names of the reps who participated. I faintly recollect Kandy district leader Abeykoon was present, whom I knew from his child hood days and who would have been the mangul kapuwa of that meeting.

I record the proceedings of the meeting verbatim below.

I first asked them as to what made them to meet me. They said after reading some of my articles in the press and also having listened to some of my lectures they were impressed and decided to meet me with a view to getting some advice as to how they could do better. Then I told the two young men that unless they are prepared to undergo some radical changes in their attitudes and policies they will never come to power as a political force in this country. I list below in point form what I told them that day.

1 ‘You have to descent from the heavens where you are and give up idealistic leftist policies imported from outside and base your policies on desiya chintanaya. Do not try to implant what is good for Russia or China on this soil. Remember there are no blanket solutions, universally applicable, whether it is politics, economics, social reform or technology.

2 You have to first understand the actual social milieu of this country within which you are going to do politics. Understand that this is a Sinhala Buddhist country that has been fashioned and conditioned by Buddhist way of life for 2500 years. Also understand the history and historical struggles and think and try to do as the forefathers did.

3 You have to get out of the skulls of Marx, Trotsky and Angels (with which you decorate your stages) and try to look at the real Sri Lankan world from a Sri Lankan perspective and adjust to the local values It is high time that you replace the above Trio with native heroes if you want the natives to feel that you are their own people and not foreigners.

4 Pull out those red shirts, give up the beards and wear a smile on your faces.

5 Also have to realize that long before you were born there were leaders among both lay and clergy who knew much more than you do. As such meet them and get their advice? Learn to meet people like Mahanayaka Theras show that you are a part and parcel of this society and not aliens in any case, both in theory and practice.

6 Don’t overestimate your strength Learn from what happened to the conventional Leftist in fifties who tried to impose the Communist system to this country. They did the same mistake you are doing today and see where they are now. When NM became the leader of the opposition in 1950 with LSSP 9 and 5 BLPI seats, they thought they are the people who will form the next Government but what happened to them in 1956. Were they able to form a Government? Again in 1956 NM became the leader of the Opposition and continued until the dissolution of the Parliament by Dahanayaka in 1960. This time the LSSP fielded 101 candidates with very high hopes to form their own Government. In fact NM Perera was hailed as the next PM. But they won only10 seats.

You would agree almost all leaders at that time like NM, Colvin, Philip Dr SA were far more superior to the present day JVP members both in their brains and educational background. Both their national and International images too were far ahead. But even then they failed to win a sufficient number of seats to form a Government. The rest in leftist politics in this country is history. The main reason behind their failure in my opinion is their inability to identify with the culture and aspirations of the common people of this country. You know in this country the King (ruler) has always been one with the people and the religion. You have to fashion politics in this country in that backdrop if any one intends to come to power through the ballot.

7 I also asked them as to why they left the UPFA. I told them that they should have hanged on with patience for some more time. I also told them don’t think you have 39 seats and U will start with 39 at the next election. That is a very big miscalculation. Last time U contested as a coalition. But if you had contested alone U would not have got even 10. It may be even much less. U must understand that in this country Sinhalese are divided in to two major Political groups. That is UNP and SLFP. For them they are not only their political parties but also their religion and nation.Whether U like it or not that is the reality in Sri Lankan politics.

8 SWRD on the other hand who formed the SLFP in 1951and who started with 9 seats in Parliament, adjusted to local needs and drew up his policies to suit the people’s aspiration. As a result in 1956 elections Banda became the PM and the Leftists were left high and dry. See how he came to power so quickly under MEP formed barely one month before the April election that year. Why not you also try to understand that secret.

Get back in to the UPFA and get few portfolios and impress the people with your abilities and new policies. Show the people that U are different from other political parties, and win over the electorate and wait until the time is ripe for you to go alone.

10 Also you must tell the people that you are a different kettle of fish now and you have completely changed your attitudes and policies of 70s and 80s.Be frank with people, admit your mistakes openly and impress the people that you are for a new Sri Lanka based on our religion, traditions and customs and your policies neither western Russian or Chinese. In other words you must impress them that the above format will constitute the very foundation of Lanka you have in mind.  Say your policies are primarily Sri Lankan but will be adjusted to suit the modern world only where necessary after due consultation and consensus reached with the people of this country, more particularly the religious leaders like the Mahanayaka Theros.

They profusely thanked me and said they will again come to meet me. Within a week I was told that they came to see the Malwatta and Asgiriya Mahanayaka Theras, perhaps having learnt the first lesson of my prescription..

Meanwhile I left for USA for a short visit. I never saw them thereafter.

Meanwhile they stayed out of the UPFA and ever since struggling in the darkness and political wilderness to find their proper alignment. The outcome of 2015 elections clearly shows where they stand now in Sri Lankan politics.

Even in this elections just concluded if they had contested with Mahinda Rajapaksa, together they would have definitely won more than 125 seats. Even if the 543,944 votes were added to MR’s account, together they would have got 177,686 votes more than the UNP coalition and got 106 seats putting the UNP coalition on 95. Instead of that they fought with two enemies at the same time on two different heavily armed fronts perhaps hoping to kill two birds with one stone, telling the people that they are going to form the next Government in 2020 not realizing that waging war on two fronts simultaneously with two strong enemies is no war at all.

It is also high time they replace their imported ethos and strategies of politics with the age old local Buddhist ethos and values, the foundation and key to political power in Sri Lanka, and build up gradually. Rome as you know was not built in a day.

If you don’t change your attitudes and strategies you are destined to doom as a political force in this country and you will also end up the same way your erstwhile old guards did.


  1. Christie Says:

    Indian Empire, Indian Colonial Parasites and Vermin has almost funding to JVP.

  2. Christie Says:

    Sorry about the typo, corrected.

    Indian Empire, Indian Colonial Parasites and Vermin have cut almost all funding to the JVP.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    JVP and SLFP are DOOMED.

    SL is doomed under this DICTATORSHIP unless the guardian gods takeover. Without a proper opposition how can a democratic country run?

  4. Independent Says:

    So called “Guardian Gods” are even worse than politicians. They guard politicians , not people. Those real guardian gods have already given their lives leaving this lot in high positions, in embassies, in government and in everywhere destroying the country.

  5. Independent Says:

    Current JVP clan is good but they should give up this doomed name JVP ( donate it to old guard Somawansa and Weerawansa ) for them to be successful.

  6. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    DR. SUDATH !!


  7. L Perera Says:

    Lorenzo – “Without a proper opposition how can a democratic country run?”. You said it ALL.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    This entire rotten system cannot continue like this. I told this during MR’s zenith of power and telling it now too.

    We replace one garbage with another and expect COMPOST!! Will not happen. Garbage has to be buried and kept for months to turn into useful compost.

  9. Nimal Says:

    said’Current JVP clan is good but they should give up this doomed name JVP’
    Perfectly correct.

  10. anura seneviratna Says:

    These so called Marxist parties in SL have been anti-national (Sinhela), a fundamental flaw in realisation which is aptly demonstrated by the world’s prime Marxist country Russia in their wholesome Russian national stance. Without national togetherness and welcome national integration, a country cannot flourish.

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