Political IDPs strike back

The country is burdened with two kinds of IDPs: the war displaced consisting of innocent men, women and children, in the Vanni, dreaming of rebuilding their lives and the politically displaced, in other areas, hell bent on unleashing anarchy.

The JVP has threatened to cripple energy, power and water supplies with the help of its trade union arm which specialises in disruptive activities. The CPC go-slow came a cropper as its organisers buckled under pressure. They boasted at the outset that they would paralyse the petroleum sector unless the government granted their demand by Monday, but on Sunday they swallowed their pride and called off the protest.

The JVP needs to perpetuate the siege mentality of its constituency through scare mongering for survival. In the early 1970s, it saw a CIA hand in everything including the national immunisation programme! Then, in the late 1980s, it got on its hobby horse of Indian expansionism. In the 1990s, it mounted the steed of patriotism to charge at the dragon of terrorism. But, after the defeat of the LTTE, the JVP is left without any gonibilla to market. Therefore, it is striving to create a backlash by provoking the government with strikes so that it could play the role of a liberator.

The JVP tried to launch a general strike in July 2008 only to have egg on its face. Its trade union leader K. D. Lalkantha, MP, vowed in Parliament to cripple the public transport and offered to resign in case of his failure to do so. Buses ran as usual and his strike became a grand flop but he did not honour his promise to resign. Again he is threatening to call a general strike!

The JVP may have succeeded in taking workers out at gunpoint in the late 1980s in protest against the JRJ government but today it cannot do so as it is not in a position to use galkatas and T-katas for that purpose. Workers will not answer the JVP’s call for a general strike as they have not yet forgiven it for its grand betrayal of workers' cause in 1980. In July that year, the JVP, having indicated its willingness to join a strike called by the Opposition, broke ranks with the strikers at the eleventh hour. The workers demanded only ten rupees extra per day! The UNP government threw over 60,000 workers out of jobs overnight! Some of them were driven to suicide! That was the time when the old left called the JVP Jayewardene Vijeweera Peramuna because they believed the JVP had an understanding with the Jayewardene government. So much for the JVP's love for the working class!

The JVP may be having political scores to settle with the government. It says President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reneged on his promise to abolish the Executive Presidency. It is also smarting as the President has engineered the defection of some of its prominent members. If so, the JVP must fight its political battles with the President without making the public suffer.

The JVP is threatening to field a third candidate in a bid to defeat President Rajapaksa at the next presidential election by creating a split in the nationalist vote. It ought to go that route without harassing the people.

Curiously, while campaigning to destroy the President politically, the JVP, as we reported yesterday quoting MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, warns him that if he goes for a premature presidential election, he will lose about two years of his first term because his second term would begin from the day of his re-election. Why should the JVP talk of President Rajapaksa's re-election, if it is confident of defeating him? On the other hand, if the President is making a mistake by opting for a snap presidential election, why should the JVP interrupt him? It should allow him to go ahead and stew in his own juice. Sun Tzu, who authored the oldest military treatise in the world, The Art of War, said: "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making mistakes!" What the JVP bigwigs’ utterances and warnings signify is their lack of confidence in the defeat-Mahinda project as well as a desire to avoid a presidential contest.

The JVP has said that the recently concluded Southern Provincial polls marked the beginning of the end of the Rajapaksa government. If so, it should challenge the government to hold a snap election, presidential or parliamentary, and defeat their bête noire President Rajapaksa. Why should it resort to extra electoral methods such as wildcat strikes to achieve its political objective? Let the public be spared!

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