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Monday, August 27, 2007

“Mangala is now a political refugee” – Lalkantha

“Mangala is now a political refugee” – Lalkantha

While acknowledging that there is a need to defeat the present government, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) will have nothing to do with achieving the political agendas of the United National Party due to that fact that its economic, social and cultural policies are detrimental to the development of the country, stated JVP Parliamentarian and Trade Union Front Leader K.D. Lalkantha.
In an interview with The Nation, commenting on the latest invitation extended SLFP(M) Leader Mangala Samaraweera, who called on the JVP to join the new National Congress to defeat the government, Lalkantha asserted that the need of the hour was to build up a truly national front, uniting all progressive and patriotic forces to pull the country out of present mess.
Samaraweera at a press conference held on Wednesday made a passionate plea to members of the JVP, whom he referred to as “my erstwhile friends whom I respect,” to join hands with the National Congress that has been formed with the UNP in order to topple the incumbent government.
Lalkantha stressed that the JVP was a party which did not work to the personal agendas of anyone and that Samaraweera had committed a blunder in joining hands with the UNP.

Following are excerpts:

By S.J. Anthony Fernando
Q: At the press conference held on Wednesday, Mangala Samaraweera once again called upon the JVP to join hands with the National Congress to defeat the government, saying that he would be able to secure the support of eight more MPs from the government for the purpose. What are your views in this regard?
A: First of all, I would like to point out that the JVP is not a party which works according to anyone’s personal agendas. Mangala, no doubt, is harbouring a personal grudge against the President.
When Mangala and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi left the government and formed their SLFP faction, they met the JVP leadership to discuss their future plans. The JVP told them in no uncertain terms that it would have nothing to do with an alliance formed with the UNP.
This was not because of any personal animosity against any UNP members but because of its economic, social and cultural policies, which are harmful to the country. Its Westernised imperialist tendencies have been detrimental to the country. Even on the national question, we don’t agree with its policies. Therefore, we cannot solve the problems facing the country with the UNP.
Mangala may be right in leaving the government, which is reeking of corruption and mismanagement. But he has committed a big blunder in joining hands with the UNP. The question is, after defeating the government, what is the alternative government they are going to form?
Q: Are you saying that he should have joined hands with the JVP in forming a national front?
A: We will certainly welcome him and discuss the manner in which we could work together, but without the UNP. However, he has now fallen into the lap of the UNP and is working according to its bidding. As a result, he has today become a political refugee.
Q: What would the JVP’s stance be at the next Budget? Will it support or oppose the Government?
A: We will await the Budget and decide whether to support it or not, according to the contents of the Budget. In the present context, we vehemently oppose the attitude of the government in condoning waste and corruption and plundering of public property as well as heaping burdens of the people. If the Budget does not provide any respite to the burning problems, we will have to decide on appropriate action.
Q: JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal Werawansa stated that if the government decides to adopt a federal system for the devolution of power, the JVP would vote against the Budget. What are your views?
A: Everyone agrees that the forthcoming Budget is a most decisive one. While the people are awaiting some relief for their untold suffering, there are also reactionary forces at work to topple the government.
At the last presidential election, the Mahinda Chinthana categorically pledged to formulate a unitary system of government in devolving power. If the Government dishonours that pledge and adopts a federal system, then it would betray the people.
Although the devolution matter is not directly connected to the Budget, we will take into consideration the government stand on the matter before deciding to support the Budget or not. We hope the government would take a wise decision considering the forces against it.


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