Vasudeva Nanayakkara is one of Sri Lanka’s well known politicians. A strong leftist, he counts nearly five decades of experience in fighting for the working class.
Contesting the April 8 general elections from the Ratnapura District on the UPFA ticket, he says his aim is to continue his fight against corruption and to bring about what he calls ‘social justice’ to the downtrodden and the underprivileged.
“My campaign theme is ‘our voice once again, for our cause’. It is a call by the people towards achieving what is known as a ‘peoplist’ society, where government is a programme committed to serve the underprivileged,” says Mr. Nanayakkara.
If the country is to achieve any kind of substantial development, corruption must be dealt with, says Mr. Nanayakkara who successfully moved the Supreme Court to squash the corruption-ridden privatization deals of Lanka Marine Services and Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation.
The firebrand politician also believes the constitution needs to be changed to achieve certain goals and therefore seeking a two-thirds mandate is justifiable. For instance, he says the present electoral system must be changed at all costs. He says he is for a hybrid system which combines the first-past-the-post system with the proportional representative system.
On the ethnic question, Mr. Nanayakkra says he believes a political solution based on power devolution is necessary.
When pointed out that some constituent parties in the UPFA are vehemently opposed to any kid of devolution, the left front leader says:
“Yes, we find contradictory view points within the UPFA. We will ultimately find a consensus or we will find a majority decision regarding the sharing of power. Those who are opposed to power sharing will ultimately have to go along with the majority decision or decide on their own course. I believe President Mahinda Rajapaksa is honest in achieving ethnic harmony.”
As for what the people can expect from Mr. Nanayakkra if elected, he says he would like to work on areas of poverty alleviation and also help the Ratnapura District youth, especially those involved in the gem mining industry.
“We will need to regularize gem mining. Presently it is done by very rich people who are able to buy land at auctions, sections of rivers, streams and government owned land. We need to give licences to ordinary people at an affordable price,” he says.