As numerous Presidential candidates entered the fray in October, the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake along with the National People’s Power (NPP) was among the front runners of the ‘alternative’ movement to enter the race. At rallies brimming with supporters, Dissanayake’s promises of tackling corruption, reconciliation and uplifting the lives of the citizenry were attractive and gaining widespread approval. But as November 17 dawned not only was the alternative candidate defeated at the decisive Presidential election, he had received a paltry 418,553 votes, a mere 3.16 percent from the total valid votes cast.
Calling a press conference following the Presidential election, Disanayake admitted he had expected to receive more votes than recorded. “The NPP did not get the results we had expected,” he said. “The NPP as well as the people had expected we would receive a significant amount of votes” he said.
But Dissanayake also said he respects the mandate of the Sri Lankan people.
“”We entered the election as the National People’s Power movement and had University lecturers, intellectuals and artistes on our platform. We were expecting a good result but we haven’t got the results we expected. We showed the path that can lead the way to economic development, national unity and democracy” he said.
But according to Dissanayake, in spite of the efforts the number of votes received have been unsatisfactory.
However, despite the setback the NPP along with Dissanaayake claimed that they will not change their political stance believing that only their policies would be the way forward. “We will continue to fight for them. Today, we see where the country has been brought to in the last 71 years.
There is no alternative but to take the road which we have shown.
Therefore, we will fight for the tomorrow of the people. We are ready to face challenges and setbacks in politics in the process” he said. He also promised to protect the people from any anti-democratic processes despite their political allegiances. “We will protect the trust that nearly 400 000 people placed in us,” he added.
Commenting on the possible failures of the NPP, Dissanayake said the movement will have to review the possible causes.
“However, certain policies will remain the same even in a review,” he said.
Dissanayake said the NPP movement will not resort to religion and communalism even in the upcoming elections and these policies will remain unchanged. “Likewise our policies on corruption and democracy are non ngeotiable” he added.
During the event Dissanayke also adressed the criticisms levelled against him which claim that he has been a cause for the systematic downfall of the JVP. “Following 2015 our movement came to the fore” he said adding that the number of JVP parliamentarians increased as a result.
Dissanayake pointed out that previously in 2010, the JVP had a mere three MPs in Parliament while in 2015 the numbers increased to six. “It is evident that there has been a both a political advancement and set backs during the time” he noted.