JVP which launched its manifesto last week has committed itseld to an ideological struggle to bring about political changes in the country. In an interview with the Sunday Observer, former MP and JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath said the party aims at taking ‘controlling power’ of the next Parliament to work for the people.
Q: In the past two parliamentary elections the JVP opted to contest as an alliance. Why did it decide to contest the elections as a single party?
A: During the past two parliament elections the JVP contested the elections as an alliance since there were political and national requirements to do so. In 2004 we all had to thwart the attempt to divide the country with the so-called Peace Agreement signed with the LTTE. We did it after forming a political alliance and defeating the then government which was in power. In the 2010 we took the responsibility of getting Sarath Fonseka released from jail and as a party we contested the election after forming an alliance with him while he was in jail. We took those decisions based on the political changes in the country.
Q: What is the main objective the party hopes to achieve by contesting the parliament election ?
A: The country is left with grave issues to be resolved at present after the SLFP and the UNP have ruled this country for the past 67 years. We believe that the country should be directed in a different path. The policies of the two major parties are almost the same. The JVP is the only party which has a vision and a comprehensive plan as an alternative to those of the two main parties to take the country forward.
Q: The JVP launched its national program ‘Accord of Conscience’ on July 23. What is the message the party is going to convey through this program to the people of this country?
A: As a party we have a vision how we should develop the country. At the same time we also wanted to get the ideas of the people. So, we invited people to send their proposals to us when formulating our national program to develop the country. In the national program we included our ideas and the views of the people and it was launched as an accord between the JVP and the people in the country.
Q: When launching your national program the party emphasised that the JVP is ready to make changes in Sri Lankan politics through an ideological struggle instead of an armed struggle. What does it means ?
A: That political change should be made through an ideological struggle. Armed struggles are now history. There were reasons for the emergence of armed struggles and there were consensus and agreements after the curbing of those two armed struggles. Therefore, we as a political party emphasized that JVP will not revert back to an armed struggle.
Q: The JVP has presented its national program in an attractive manner. Will this also be another election pledge?
A: No. This will not become another election pledge. It includes the identification of the problem and also the way of solving that problem. Therefore, it is not like any other election pledge given by a political party during the election period. What we have presented is a set of proposals which can be practically implemented. That is a program aimed at increasing the production economy and the human resource in the country by creating a ‘participatory economy’ to develop the country.
Q: What sort of economic policies the JVP hopes to pursue as a political party?
A: We believed in a modern socialist economy. The world has changed and developed. Science and technology has been improved. No country can maintain its economy in isolation.
Therefore, we should taking in to account the new trends and changes in the world. We have presented an economic program that suits to the modern world. People of this country had a negative attitude towards a socialist economy because what was implemented was an absurd socialist economy. The economic policy we present is an industry-based economy after identifying new trends in the global economy.
Q: Any political party contesting the elections aspires to form a government. Does the JVP hope to form a government after the election?
A: The objective of any political party is to secure political power. That is why political parties are formed. The JVP is no exception. We need power to implement our program . Considering the the current situation in the country our aim at this election is to take over the ‘controlling power’ in the parliament.
Q: If you secure the power at the forthcoming election which party will the JVP support to form a government ?
A: We will not align or join with any political party to form a government. We do not need any offerings or portfolios to work for the country. We will make use of that power to control whichever the government comes into power. We will ensure that the government will work for the people.
Q: We saw the JVP was playing a leading role in getting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa ousted in the past elections. As a party how does the JVP see the re-entry of Mahinda Rajapaksa to politics? Will the JVP continue it efforts to defeat him politically at the elections?
A: We have nothing personal against Mahinda Rajapaksa. What we wanted is to defeat the political culture he has created. He is the one who created drugs, ethanol and corrupt political culture in this country. There is a possibility of the re-emergence of that culture.
Q: As a whole how do you describe the team the JVP has fielded to contest the election ?
A: Our party national list consists of university lecturers, professors, auditor generals, doctors, artistes and many other professionals when other parties comprise of those who are incapable of winning elections in their national lists. Seventeen out of the 22 district leaders of our party are graduates from recognized universities in the country.
Q: Any political party contesting the election has a target. How many seats you are expecting to win at the forthcoming election ?
A: We definitely know that the number of JVP seats in the parliament will be increased at this election.