Six ‘cross-over’ MPs to form Independent group | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Six ‘cross-over’ MPs to form Independent group

7 April, 2019

Five UNP parliamentarians and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian who joined the 52-day government formed on October 26 by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa have decided to become independent MPs in Parliament after the April New Year, the Sunday Observer reliably learns.

UNP Parliamentarians, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, S.B. Nawinna, Dunesh Gankanda, Ananda Aluthgamage, Ashoka Priyantha and TNA Parliamentarian S. Viyalendran teamed up with the former President when he was appointed as the Prime Minister by the President Maithripala Sirisena on October 26, 2018.

“We are going to form an independent group with a separate identity with the hope of addressing public issues in a well-organised manner,” MP Asoka Priyantha told the Sunday Observer.

“We crossed over to the Opposition as we opposed the activities of the Government. We will soon prepare a program on our future activities and we will organise press conferences with our own identity to communicate our stance on critical issues,” he said.

However, former Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa has not given his final word with regard to forming an independent group. “We couldn’t finalise the discussion with him. He didn’t come to Parliament in recent days, I think. Therefore, we don’t know his stance but, we will be happy if he joins us, as he also crossed over at the same time,” said Ashoka.

“As the first step, we abstained at the recent budget voting. We will become a radical and influential group in the Parliament in the near future similar to the JVP group of Parliamentarians. However, we haven’t decided on a name for our group yet and we expect the media to come up with a proper name for us,” he added.

Meanwhile, SLPP National Organiser and former Minister Basil Rajapaksa had assured at a recent event, that none of the UNP MPs who pledged their support to Mahinda Rajapaksa after October 26 will cross over back to the UNP.

“We cannot comment on the next Presidential election as yet. We will look at all the candidates and then decide considering the best interests of the country. In the meantime, we will support any party which is willing to call an early election. Because that is what the country needs,” said Ashoka.