We won't get into the bandwagon with MR - Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe
The UPFA consists of corrupt characters who were rejected by a vast
majority at the last election, JHU National Organiser Nishantha Sri
Warnasinghe told the Sunday Observer elaborating the plans of the party,
the MoU with the UNP and the decision to walk out of the UPFA.Excerpts
Q: How many electorates the JHU hopes to contest?
A: We will be contesting only nine districts this time. We
have fielded nine candidates.
Q: Your party first formed the United National Front for Good
Governance (UNFGG). Then came the decision to join forces with the UNP
to contest the general election. What is the understanding between the
JHU and the UNP after the election?
A: We have singed an MoU with the United National Party. We
decided that an agreement is needed before joining forces to contest the
Accordingly we have fielded nine candidates from the JHU. We will be
contesting under the elephant symbol.
Q: Will you be offered national seats ?
A: Yes, we have been offered two slots from the national list.
Ven. Athuraliye Rathana thera and Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha thera have been
accommodated in the national list.
Q: It seems you took a very crucial decision at the eleventh
hour to walk out of the UPFA. Was this decision to brake ranks with the
UPFA and join the UNP taken after consideration or was it a hasty
decision that you might regret later?
A: The JHU will never embark on hasty decisions. We take
decisions after a careful consideration. It was never a hasty decision.
Our hope was to bring all progressive forces who fought for good
governance during the 2015 Presidential election under one umbrella and
continue the work that we commenced. We will always be the
whistle-blowers in the government.
Q: What was your vote base at the last presidential election?
A: We generally have a vote base of over 700,000. In the last
election our vote base would have been around 800,000.
Q: What are your expectations in the forthcoming election?
A: To win the election to carry forward a progressive
development and economic plan and create a just society for the people
of the country. We hope to be active partners of the next government, in
that sense JHU members will be accepting responsibilities and
ministerial portfolios in the UNF Government.
Our expectation is that the people will understand the need to vote
into office a strong government that could carry forward our development
agenda and good governance process. Only a strong government will have
the strength to do that, a weak government in Parliament will be at
others mercy and the much needed constitutional amendments will be a
pipe dream if that happens.
The JHU promotes good governance, a just society and a strong
We were not ready to back track now and get into the bandwagon with
the former President. We have to ensure the good governance process is
not interrupted by the dark forces.
Q: In relation to party policy, there was a world of
difference between the JHU and the UNP. Besides do you think the JHU
voters will have no issue to cast their vote before the elephant symbol?
A: I don't think that will be a major issue. We have come to
terms with an election manifesto, which has incorporated many of our
concerns. It is this agreement that we are pursuing.The UNP is elated
over our entry and it has made them more determined to win the election.
Q: Can you say the feelings are mutual?
A: Yes. We don't have any reservations about the alliance. We
want to be a force that will lead this country in the correct path to
Q: Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka was a strong critic of
the Central Bank Bond issue case. How would you tackle such issues in
the future ?
A: Our stand is that the new government that comes to power
should resume the case and whoever who is guilty should be dealt with
the law irrespective of their alliances and friendships. We will be the
beacon that guides the next government in the right path.
We will not hesitate to be a whistle-blower. As much as we need to
ensure mistakes are not repeated and the government will not tread a
corrupt path, we are of the strong opinion that a probe into the bond
issue incident should be initiated by the next government.
Q: JHU has committed to the March 12 Declaration, how many
female candidates have you fielded?
A: One female candidate. She will be contesting from the
Q: UPFA has said they will win 14 districts?
A: Let's wait till the results, then we will get to know who
wins. They claimed the same things in the last presidential election.
Those who are in dream worlds can wake up after August17.
Q: Your split with the UPFA resulted only because SLFP offered
nominations to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa or did you have other
reasons as well?
A: It was one reason, there were many other issues like the
unwillingness of SLFP to reform the party. There were no visible efforts
to change the party policy or make the replacements within party ranks
which was actually mandated by people's will shown on January 8.
Further they back tracked from their commitment to bring in those
crucial electoral reforms.
Q: The President has announced that he will remain neutral at
the forthcoming election. Your comments?
A: We welcome that decision, I don't think he can ever get on
to a stage with the SLFP.
The President has received a mandate to implement the good governance
He has to respect that mandate. The UPFA team consist of corrupt
characters who were rejected by a vast majority at the last election.
Q: It seems a majority of the UPFA top rankers have rallied
round the former President in demanding that he be made the Prime
Ministerial candidate although JHU has reservations about his candidacy?
A: I believe this is an issue the party leadership must
resolve. It is an internal issue of the party.