Opportunism, the credo
axioms influenced the lives of people, attempts would be
certainly made to change them, an old adage says. Similarly if
it affects the lives of individuals party leaders too would
attempt to change policies and principles. This is the basis of
opportunism in politics. To put it in another way, opportunism
is the giving up of one's principles, policies and long-term
goals for the sake of short-term advantages and illusory
To put it in the language of proletarian politics, which the
JVP claims to uphold, it means selling one's class interests for
a cup of porridge.
The Opposition alliance at the Presidential election had only
a single agenda and a single policy. What united the disparate
groups was their common opposition to President Mahinda
Rajapaksa. Their common policy of abolishing the executive
presidency was only a pretext, a camouflage to dupe the gullible
voter. Actually, it was a subject outside the scope of powers
vested in the President. It is not the President but the
legislature or Parliament which could change the executive
presidency. As the campaign progressed the real common objective
was apparent. It was sending Mahinda Rajapaksa home, as the TNA
Leader Sampanthan categorically said without any pretensions. So
it was to have another executive president, the alliance was
Having failed in their mission which the former Army
Commander described as his personal Second Operation, the
disparate groups and parties are now attempting to keep the
alliance from falling apart. Already the fissures are evident.
The UNP earlier said it wants to contest under the elephant
symbol. It appealed to others to join. Finding no positive
response they have now surrendered to the JVP call to contest
under a common symbol. It is ironic that the JVP which
vehemently criticized the traditional Left parties for aligning
with the SLFP on a common political program as a sell out now
calling for an alliance without even a minimum program.
The objection of the JVP is to the elephant symbol. They have
no qualms in working together with the UNP if it accepted
another symbol. That means, it is happy with the UNP policies
and the UNP is happy with JVP policies.
There cannot be an instant of opportunism worse than this. It
is a sad reflection on the JVP leadership that it had brought a
party that had stood for independent policies (even if they were
not popular) for long to the brink of liquidation. The next
general election would definitely mark the nadir of its
It is to the JVP's credit that it stood for an alternative
economic policy to that of neo-liberalism despite their
isolation. However, they seemed to have now abandoned it
silently just at the time when even some capitalists seem to
ditch it. How else could one understand their eagerness to come
into an alliance with the UNP which still stands for
neo-liberalism and the resurrection of the infamous Regaining
Sri Lanka program?
The alliance they claim is not a mere electoral no-contest
agreement but one that hopes to install a government.
In fact, ministerial positions are also on the bargain
counter. Rumours are also afloat that it has asked for the Prime
Minister post in a government should the alliance succeed.
Perhaps, it is aiming a bit too high as the proverbial jackal
that wanted to taste grapes from a vine unreachable.
All partners in the so-called alliance in the making have
policies that are non-congruous. They could unite only under one
credo. That is the credo of opportunism.
The intelligent voters would see through their opportunism.
They could keep trust in such a coalition for governance only at
its own risk.