By Saman Indrajith
UNP national list MP Prof Ashu Marasinghe handing over the no-faith motion on SLFP parliametarians who voted for the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.
A group of UNP backbenchers yesterday evening handed over seven no-confidence motions against National List MP and Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala and six SLFP cabinet ministers to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.
The ministers are SB Dissanayake, Dayasiri Jayasekera, Susil Premjayantha, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Chandima Weerakkody and W. D. J. Senevirtne.
Addressing the media soon after handing over the no faith motions, UNP MPs Mujibur Rahuman, Sydney Jayaratne and Ashu Marasinghe said that those 16 SLFPers, including six ministers, who had voted for the no confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the government should be expelled from the cabinet and government. The UNP accused them of violating collective responsibility.
The following MPs have placed their signatures on the motions: Imran Mahroof, Mayantha Dissanayake, Harshana Rajakaruna, Ashu Marasinghe, Ranjth Aluvihare, Hirunika Premachandra, Wijepala Hettiarachchi, KK Piyadasa, Mujibur Rahuman, Vadivel Suresh, Nalin Bandara, Sydney Jayaratne, Sandeeth Samarasinghe, Kavinda Jayawardena, Ananda Kumarasiri, Srinal de Mel, Jayamapthi Wickremaratne, Hector Appuhamy, Ananda Aluthgamage, Chandima Gamage, and Said Ali Saheer Moulana,
MP Rahuman said that they would consider moving no-faith motions against the remaining lot. Rahuman said that would be probably finalised on Monday.
Earlier in the day, Colombo District UNP MP Rahuman told The Island that the they had decided to put off the handing over of the no-confidence motions scheduled for yesterday till next Monday.
Immediately after the conclusion of the vote, the UNP decided to move no-faith motions against SLFP Ministers Dayasiri Jayasekera, SB Dissanayake, Susil Premajayantha, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Chandima Weerakkody, TB Ekanayake, WDJ Seneviratne, Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Dilan Perera, Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Anuradha Jayaratne, Susantha Punchinilame, Lakshman Wasantha Perera, Tharanath Basnayake and Sumedha G Jayasena.
The UNP handed over the no-faith motions though President Maithripala Sirisena had asked the UNP ministers not to go ahead with it.
Sources said that President had warned that if the UNP went ahead with its plan, he would have to allow the SLFP and the Joint Opposition operation to secure required support to form a new government with former President Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister.
The President gave that warning to UNP delegation comprising Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Mangala Samaraweera, Malik Samarawickrama at Pajet Road, sources said.
The UNP group told the President that they would submit no confidence motions against those who voted for the JO no faith motions. As SLFP ministers had been critical of the Prime Minister, they couldn’t be permitted to sit in the cabinet with the Prime Minister and UNP Ministers, the President was told.
Their response had irked the President, sources said, adding that he had reminded the UNP group that ministers Samaraweera, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and Harin Fernando had publicly criticised him.
“How could they sit in the cabinet meeting chaired by me then?” the President queried.
“If you go ahead with your plan then the SLFP and JO will unite. They’ll form a government under former President Rajapaksa. I would have to permit them.”
Withdraw No Faith Motions – Ranil Tells UNP MPs
PM Wickremesinghe has directed UNP MPs to withdraw no-faith motions handed over to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Derana reported last night. However, a spokesman for the group denied receiving Wickremesinghe’s directive at the time this edition went to press.