Dissident MP rejoins UNP
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 03 April 2007, 10:47 GMT]
Mr.Edward Gunasekara, one of eighteen dissidents of the main opposition United National Party (UNP) tendered his resignation from the post of Deputy Minister of Railways to Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse. Mr.Gunasekara crossed over to the opposition side and took a seat along with UNP loyalist parliamentarians when the parliament resumed Tuesday morning, parliamentary sources said.
Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, leader of the opposition immediately allocated a seat in the opposition side when Mr.Gunasekara crossed over from the government side. Heated arguments ensued between members of government and opposition over the question of allocating a seat in parliament for a person who crossed over from one side to other.
Government members argued that the Speaker is the sole authority to decide on the seat allocation, sources said.
Mr.Wickremasinghe requested the Speaker to allow Mr.Gunasekara to speak on his decision to change the side. But the Speaker disallowed the request stating Mr.Gunasekara had crossed over to the opposition and took a seat without informing him, parliamentary sources said.
The Speaker adjourned the parliament till 11.30 a.m. following the disruption by government and opposition parliamentarians in conducting the business smoothly, sources said.
Mr.Gunasekara was elected on the UNP ticket from Gampaha district at the last general election. He joined the government with seventeen other dissident parliamentarians led by Mr.Karu Jayasuriya and was appointed a deputy minister in the major cabinet reshuffle.