JVP’s double game draws flak from all corners

By Ayesha Wijeratne, Jayashika Padmasiri, Aisha Edris, Sarashi Samarasinghe
Despite continuous rhetoric against the government, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) on Friday acted in a style which analysts claimed as a bid to ‘save’ the government. The JVP’s decision to abstain from the crucial third reading of the 2008 Budget has drawn immense flak from almost all political parties and the general public.

The country’s main opposition, United National Party (UNP) lashed out at the JVP yesterday accusing them of playing a double game by pretending to be against the government in front of the public, while in reality, actually safeguarding them.

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said, “We are very puzzled at their decision. The JVP openly showed their discontentment regarding the Budget and even called it a prostitute, and also an anti-people Budget. But on Friday, they supported the government by taking a decision to abstain from voting. They simply helped to extend the time period of the government.”

Attanayake also added that the JVP betrayed the people yesterday while claiming to be working for the people.
He queried as to what made the JVP change their mind so suddenly, especially when taking into consideration the President’s expenditure, which has almost doubled compared to last year.

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) charged that the JVP had a secret deal with the government. SLMC General Secretary M.T. Hassan Ali commenting on the JVPs action said that it was an expected act from the JVP. “The JVP will never allow the government to fall as they have a secret understanding. Both the government and the JVP know that they are each other’s strength. In the end, it is the poor masses, who suffer due to the JVP’s action,” he charged.

According to Ali, JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa had said that bad governance and patriotism do not go hand in hand and questioned if Weerawansa’s statement was true, then why the JVP abstained from voting on Friday.
Ceylon Workers’ Congress Vice President R. Yogarajan said that the JVP had played a duplicitous role. According to him, during the second reading the JVP had said that they were against the Budget, because it aggravated the people’s suffering, but on Friday they resorted to a totally different stance.

He further added that the CWC announced that they vote with the government, as they were ministers of the government.
Meanwhile, Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi’s (ITAK) Jaffna District Parliamentarian, M.K. Shivajilingam said that the JVP is unable to decide the route they want to follow. “The JVP is trying to sail on two boats at the same time, which is not practical. One day they say that this Budget is completely unfair on the people, then another day they say that they do not want the government to lose. You cannot do both of these together. They should choose one path,” he further said.
The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) saw the decision taken up by the JVP as submitting to the aspirations of the patriotic and anti-terrorist public of this county.

JHU Spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe yesterday praised the JVP’s decision to abstain from voting, calling it a clever decision taken up to support and dismantle the international forces at work in the county against the government.
Meanwhile, Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne said that the JVP had been wise to abstained from voting. According to him the JVP finds it top priority to eliminate terrorism. Also added that the JVP is enjoying so many seats in Parliament today simply because they contested with the SLFP; this may be another reason for their decision.

Special Projects Minister Mahinda Wijesekera said that the JVP, through its abstinence, displayed that they are incapable or unwilling to topple government even though they expressed they are not in support of the current administration.
“The voting is also an indicator that the JVP is not in a position to form a government by itself. The JVP was a partner when forming the UPFA, and later broke from it for some reason. At times, they endorse the government’s military campaign. Then they charged the same government for its wastage, corruption and the high cost of living. The JVP does not want to totally defeat the government as they see some plus points in it as well.

Meanwhile, The Nation also spoke to members of the public who criticised the party’s decision.
Kusal Dahanayake, pharmaceutical products importer said that the JVP actions had shamed most university students who are part of JVP-led unions and socialist ethics. According to him, the JVP should have voted against the Budget on Friday. But they did not do so, which shows that they are playing a double game.

Priyanjali Weerasinghe, a house wife from Maradana said that, “If the JVP was actually concerned about the people they should have voted against the government. But it is now obvious that the JVP changes for their own benefit.”