By Salani Kulathilaka –
According to a news report in The New Indian Express, the JVP is scoring high in an assessment by Verité Research, a Colombo-based “multidisciplinary think-tank providing strategic analysis and advice for decision-makers and opinion-formers.”
According to Verité’s monitoring of parliamentary activity, the JVP, with only seven MPs in a house of 225, has five among the top ten performers. Parliamentary party leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake is No. 1 and Sunil Handunneththi No. 2. It is no accident that many of these MPs were trained in the hard sciences at the university and bring their acumen and work habits to parliament.
Said a senior Tamil comrade who accompanied me to Jaffna on this trip, “The JVP had a bad start with Tamils in 1971 but has made inroads among many of us as it rebrands itself, making a name in Parliament for questioning anything and everything that is wrong in this country. That includes Tamil issues. They are the only major national party that keeps memories of 1983 alive.”
“A culmination of this success with Tamils,” said Mr. Ramalingam Chandrasekaram, former MP and the JVP’s Jaffna District Organizer, “is that we have been celebrating July 23 as Brotherhood Day every year from 2008 with a focus on the arts. Today our Socialist Youth Union is proud to bring it to Jaffna. We are now a force to be reckoned with in Vaddukodai, Puththoor and Kaithady. We are gaining ground in other cities. Look at the star-studded array of artistes and intellectuals who have come today for our inter-cultural cross fertilization: Prof. Ragunathan (Tamil Literature), Senior Lecturer Wimal Swaminathan, Dr. Jebanesan (Kaithady), M. Kalidas (Dramatist), and Chalane Charles (Traditional Drama), besides Parakrama Niriella (Play-write), Dr. Volvin Chithira, Anthony Jeeva, Dr. Sinnasamy and Sooryakumar Muththalage.”
The celebrations were to a full house at the Methodist Mission’s Trimmer Hall by Central College at 2:00 PM today, July 23. Posters and poetry in Sinhalese and Tamil addressing peace and reconciliation were on display outside the hall in the compound.
To underscore the attention they are giving to Tamil issues, Mr. Chandrasekaram pointed to Mr. Bimal Ratnayake, MP, who had read engineering at Moratuwa for some years, and is now spending a great deal of time in Jaffna.
The JVP in keeping its focus on brotherhood and harmony, gave due attention to the problems at University of Jaffna. In addition to pressuring parliament to not forget about the grave state of matters at the university, the Socialist Youth Union had arranged special speakers to address this. Of particular note were Ravindu Salinda, the Vice President of the students’ union at the new Faculty of Engineering Jaffna in Kilinochchi, and perhaps even more important, G. Neraf, the former President of the Arts Faculty Students’ Union who is still a student. Both emphasized the importance of harmonious relations and expressed to applause their readiness to do anything towards achieving such relations.
Off the stage a Jaffna academic was heard to praise the students for speaking up and lamenting the self-imposed silence among our students out of seeming fear. In private some members of the public faulted the TNA for providing the legal defence for the student many accuse of stoking communal fires at the time of the student riot. As damage is done by this act to the image of the TNA as the only viable peace-broker, supporters of the TNA worried openly. Said an older, long-standing TNA voter, “Everyone is entitled to legal services. But then the TNA should leave the defence of this student to private lawyers. Defending him sends a bad message as to where we stand. Surely there are many lawyers who can do this. I worry that the JVP, Chief Minister Wigneswaran and Provincial Assembly Opposition Leader Thavarasa are saying things that reverberate in our hearts. Why! The JVP even has its cadres interviewing students on both sides to find out what exactly happened. They even asked me who best to speak to, to find out. What are we as the TNA doing?”
The high point of the evening was the energetic final speech by Anura Kumara Dissanayake. It was effectively translated by Wimal Swaminathan to repeated applause as Dissanayake called for good relations between the communities and said that the problems are created not by the Sinhalese but the families forming 10% of the country who have been ruling us. There was very loud and long applause at the end of his speech, setting the atmosphere for the merriment to follow tea and enjoyable cultural performances by children from many schools (Central, St. Patricks, Hindu and others from far away). Prizes were distributed.
Said the senior Tamil comrade who referred to the JVP’s bad start with Tamils in 1971, “I am a researcher. In research and analysis we make mistakes and then change our theories when we discover our mistakes. When we change, we show that we are good open-minded thinkers committed to the truth. I think the JVP has done that and earned a second look from us Tamils.”
- Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna is scoring high in an assessment
- Five out of seven JVP MP’s are among the top 10 ten performers
- United National Party is a second best performer
COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan Marxist party, which had tried to overthrow bourgeois democracy twice in the last 45 years, is today wedded to the norms and practices associated with the Westminster system, setting an example to parties which have traditionally laid claim to being “democratic.”
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), which had staged two insurrections, one in 1971 and the other in 1989, and was banned twice, in 1971 and 1983, is today the most active parliamentary party in Sri Lanka, scoring high in an assessment conducted by Verite Research.
According to Verite Research’s www.manthri.lk which keeps track of the performance of Members of Parliament (MPs) in a scientific way, JVP is the top scorer in the present (8 th) parliament, which was elected in July 2015.
The JVP has only seven MPs in a house of 225, but five of them are among the top 10 ten performers.
JVP’s parliamentary party leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake (Colombo District MP) is number one in the long list of 20, followed by party colleague Sunil Handunneththi (National or nominated List).