The way state power is utilized, deploying of state resources and employees for the presidential election campaign would create a world record says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva.
Speaking at a media conference held at the head office of the JVP at Pelawatta today (18th) the General Secretary of the JVP said, “Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa began violating election laws even before the dates were fixed for the presidential election. His cutouts were hung on all light posts. Cutouts were put up obstructing roads. However, the government had to remove the cutouts due to the opposition from masses and when the Bar Association threatened to take legal action. Still there are several cutouts left. Even now cutouts are being put up inside several state institutions. Recently, cutouts were put up at Anula Vidyalaya despite protests from the teaching staff. Large cutouts are still displayed at the entrances and exits of highways in places such as Kottawa and Matara. At the start of the campaign even police officers were deployed to put up cutouts. At Agunakolapalassa cutouts were put up with the participation of the OIC of the police station. Mahinda Rajapaska got the police, whose duty is to protect election laws, to put up his cutouts.
Presently, the election machinery of the SLFP has completely broken down. As such, more and more state institutions have to be deployed for the campaign.
The election campaign of the UPFA and the SLFP has completely broken down as the Secretary General of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena, the JHU, Deputy Ministers Raddhakrishsnan and Digambaram and more than 100 local government councilors left the government. Meanwhile Rauff Hakeems SLMC is silent and even SLFP party members do not take part in any activities of the campaign. This is why Mahinda Rajapaksa has to use state institutions and deploy state employees. As institutions such as the Road Development Authority and Urban Development Authority are under members of Rajapaksa family the resources and employees of these institutions are being deployed for pasting posters and for canvassing.
Recently, a circular was issued by the UDA stating all employees should join government election campaign during weekends from the 20th of this month. Also, their presence at President’s meeting to be held on 3rd December has been made compulsory. Employees of Telecom in uniform have been illegally deployed to distribute leaflets of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s campaign.
Also, employees of SLTB have been deployed for the campaign. The President of SLFP trade union in SLTB Nimal Abeysiri acts using minister’s powers. He is sending written orders to divisional managers and all employees. He orders Depot Managers to get all employees to apply for postal votes and to cancel their leave. Also Depot Managers directly engaging in the election campaign with other employees has been made compulsory. He has instructed all managers of SLTB to display cutouts at bus stands, bus halts and public places with photographs of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Minister of Transport and himself. We would complain regarding such illegal activities to election monitors and Commissioner of Elections.
We know complaining to the police or the Commissioner of elections would not serve any purpose. They are unable to carry out the law. The President, using all his powers, is shamelessly violating election laws. What’s the purpose of winning an election by violating election laws and deploying state resources and employees? Mahinda Rajapaksa should have not come forward for the election if he had no people to help in his campaign.
How does he hold his propaganda meetings? All members of Civil Defense Force were called for the meeting at Anuradhapura. They went for the meeting to save their jobs. The security forces too were brought for the meeting. The stages of the meetings in which the President participates are erected by state employees. Even prisoners are deployed to make stages. What is left when Mahinda Rajapaksa falls to such a low level? The JVP would take all measures against these illegal acts. It should be reminded that media institutions in this country too have a responsibility to reveal these illegal moves.
The officials of state institutions have been subjected to immense pressure due to the demands of the government. They are completely frustrated regarding the moves of the government. State media is deployed in a very disgustful manner to carry out Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign. They not only carry out propaganda for Mahinda Rajapaksa but also carry out mudslinging at the opposition. The JVP too has been targeted in their mudslinging despite we have not presented nominations. According to ‘Dinamina’ there is only one candidate for the presidential election. He is Mahinda Rajapaksa. This newspaper did not have the courtesy at least to mention the names of the candidates after nomination papers were handed over. Also, private media institutions are pressurized in various ways. Sometimes ministers abruptly leave political debate programmes. They threaten not to take part in such programmes. As a result certain channels had to bow down to the government. Also, the government has instructed TV channels not to invite the JVP for political programmes. The JVP represents a large section of the population. The people have a right to know our views whether we take part in the election or not. The government and its representatives find it difficult to confront the JVP. As such, the government attempts to show its colours in programmes where the JVP is not represented. Despite we have been denied participating in TV programmes, we have developed alternative machinery to take our views to the people through rallies, seminars, pocket meetings, house to house canvassing and distribution of leaflets. If we are not invited for political debate programmes during the election period we would have to consider whether we would take part or not in such programmes after the election. For, as a political party we have the right to decide it.
The biggest fraudsters in the government are the people who attempt to silence JVP viewpoint by pressurizing media institutions. For, their files are too heavy. As such, they have a difficulty in facing opponents. One such person is Mahindananda. A group from the government has filed a complaint against him to the Bribery Commission. This is why he is trying to appear for Mahinda Rajapaksa and hide from charges targeted by opponents.
Rohitha Abeygunawardene is another of the same kind. There are charges of fraud against him too. This is why a snake stings him when he is called to the Bribery Commission.
This government is one that bombed and torched media institutions and murdered journalists. As such, journalists are a little afraid of this government. However, justice should be protected. Media institutions and journalists do not pay much attention to it. However, this government would not last long. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s certain defeat on the 8th is already confirmed. This is why violence has been unleashed. The stage of a meeting to be held by the common opposition was torched. Also, the opposition has been denied places to have their meetings. The government reserve places only for its supporters. The government has already sensed defeat. This is why goods are distributed and jobs are given illegally. This has reached the judicial sector as well. Mahinda Rajapaksa while being a candidate is appointing judges to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. This government attempts to win the election by hook or by crook. The government has exposed itself in their election campaign.
A new theory has been invented now. Mahinda who had been saying he would certainly win now says he wouldn’t go even if he was defeated. This canard is spread to retain his supporters who carry out his illegal campaigns. His faction tries to spread the view that he could remain as the president for two more years. We would categorically say according to the 3rd amendment Mahinda does not have any opportunity to stay. According to the Constitution if a presidential election is held after 4 years of the tenure of the president the president if defeated has to leave his position immediately after the results have been announced. The Constitution states, “ if the President in office is not a candidate or is not re-elected, at a poll for the election of a President, his term of office shall be deemed to have expired on the date on which the result of such election is declared. The person elected as President at such election shall assume office forthwith, but not later than two weeks from such date”. If Mahinda Rajapaksa doesn’t go even after he is defeated we ask the people to take a decision how he should be sent home.
If Mahinda wins at this election we are definite he would go for a direct dictatorship that doesn’t care for laws of the country or the Constitution. Hence, Mahinda Rajapaksa should be definitely defeated on 8th January. We wouldn’t get democratic rights as soon as Mahinda is defeated. The JVP would take the responsibility of pressurizing the new government to get them.
We invite the people in this country to rally with us to abolish executive presidency and to get other just demands. All people in this country need democracy. Democratic freedom is needed for those in the police, three security forces, masses, and judiciary as well as those in the UPFA and SLFP. Those who attempted to leave the government but stayed back too needs democracy. For, a grave situation would dawn if Mahinda wins. Mahinda will start from those who had planned to leave but stayed back. As such, their first wish would be for Mahinda to lose.
Also, there would be a general election after the presidential election. We also will contest at this election. The JVP would struggle in this Parliament to win democracy. Hence, the JVP should be strengthened at the general election. More members from the JVP should be sent to the Parliament to change this political culture of sending persons who change their parties for money, smuggle in heroin and sell arrack.”
Responding to questions Mr. Tilvin Silva said, “There is a talk about ‘jilmart’ now. It was Rajapaksa who came out with ‘jilmart’ first. What we did was to repeat to the people what Mahinda had said. Mahinda said he carried out a ‘jilmart’ to get his number of preferential votes in 2004 increased. There are certain ‘jilmart’ operations being conducted at this election as well. There is a stage the defeat cannot be avoided whatever number of ‘jilmarts’ are carried out. In 2010 too people had a doubt regarding the result of the election. The JVP said we had a suspicion that a ‘jilmart’ such as the one that occurred in 2005 had been manipulated in 2010 as well. People still have this doubt. For, a justifiable, impartial inquiry regarding that result has not been carried out yet.
We cannot do anything if the government carries out its campaign with weapons on the election day. The police and security forces have to be responsible for that. W could report the irregularities the government carries out to the police, Commissioner of Elections and election monitors. We have a programme to carry out in such an eventuality.
The JVP is not prepared to become shareholders of the governments formed after this election. However, it is the JVP that has the ability to amass masses, organize them and struggle to get the promises made fulfilled. We promise the people that we would definitely make this mediation.
JVP Member for Western Provincial Council Attorney at Law Sunil Watagala was also present.