NPP – the same old wine in a new bottle

Wednesday, 18 October 2023 01:31 –      – 154

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Subsequent to President Wickremesinghe’s ill-tempered interview with German TV station – DW, the National People’s Power (NPP) MP Harini Amarasuriya took to twitter and claimed that people would hopefully stop equating English fluency with intelligence and competence. The remark comes amidst certain individuals questioning the eligibility of Anura Kumara Dissanayake for Presidency in the backdrop of his inability to converse in the English Language.

It is apparent that some JVP/NPP front liners are having an inferior complexity due to their inability to communicate in English. Nonetheless, one does not need to be able to interact in English to govern a country, but the question is whether the NPP’s ideology is any different from that of their predecessor’s – the JVP?

Recently, at a public meeting, the NPP leader slammed the Government’s alleged moves to sell Milco to the Indian dairy giant – Amul. He also criticised the efforts to obtain the contribution of foreign direct investments to utilise the country’s mineral deposits. What is the point in the Government running enterprises that sell dairy products like butter and yoghurt? The NPP’s vehement objection to privatisation even at a time when there is general consensus that the SOEs are a massive burden to the economy clearly illustrates there is hardly any distinction between their views and of their former dispensation (JVP).

Privatisation, if implemented correctly, brings significant benefits to the economy via fiscal savings to the Treasury in addition to attracting investments from reputed MNCs. The divestiture of Ceylon Tyre Corporation to the Indian multinational tyre manufacturing company – CEAT Ltd. in 1992 is a case in point.

The NPP’s stances on numerous issues reveal that the changeover from the JVP to the NPP is a mere change of names sans any evolution from the original viewpoints. Although they blame the two main political parties for the economic woes the nation is suffering, the historical evidence proves that the JVP’s ideals contributed in no small measure, particularly to the fiscal mess the country has run into. The Marxist outfit, severely criticised then Ranil Wickremesinghe Government’s (from 2002 to 2004) efforts to rationalise public sector employment as envisaged by the Regaining Sri Lanka blueprint.

The succeeding UPFA administration, in which the JVP held cabinet portfolios, went on a massive recruitment drive and thereby, granted jobs to thousands of graduates, mainly art degree holders, who could not secure jobs in the private sector. Today, most of those graduates languish in Divisional Secretariats without contributing anything meaningful to the society. Not only that, they also increased the subsidies given to various sectors of the economy which resulted in a substantial erosion of public finances.

Some have portrayed the NPP as a force who could salvage people and turnaround the fortunes of this country. They are projected as devoid of corruption unlike other political forces by their supporters, and their supposed holier-than-thou outlook is cited as the prime reason why they need to be picked ahead of others. However, facts suggest otherwise. In return for their support to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidential campaign in 2005, the JVP received a radio licence free-of-charge as a favour, which is in contrast to the principles of good governance preached by them.

Few months ago, veteran journalist Victor Ivan recalled how the NPP bigwigs even contemplated making the infamous former Chief Justice Sarath N. de Silva as the common candidate for the 2010 Presidential Election, making a mockery of their commitment to judicial independence. It must be borne in mind that it is the JVP old timers who call shots within the NPP and not the likes of Harini Amarasuriya.

Voters need to exercise caution and prudence when making choices without being carried away by bandwagons in view of the ordeal the people had to undergo as a result of electing an amateur four years ago due to the euphoria created by the mainstream as well as social media.