Saga of crossovers, expulsions and resignations etc.
Referendum for extention of Parliament

by Dr. Wimal Wickramasinghe

Continued from yesterday

In 1989, he was made Minister of State for Policy Planning and Implementation, first Minister of Environment in 1991, Cabinet Minister of Environment and Parliamentary Affairs and Chief Government Whip of Parliament in April 1993. He gave up politics after defeat at the next general election of August 1994.

The process of more by-elections took place thereafter. R P Wijesiri (who was earlier second MP for Harispattuwa and resigned from the seat) contested the Kundasale seat on October 25, 1984 on the UNP ticket and won it, leaving his wife, Mrs L M Wijesiri nominated as 2nd MP for Harispattuwa. On the same day, S B Wijekoon (UNP) won the Minneriya seat. In 1985, when C P J Seneviratna died, a by-election was held on April 18, 1985, his son, Lakhsman Seneviratna getting elected with a vast majority. Again in 1985, Ananda Kularatna (UNP) won the Mulkirigala by-election defeating Chamal Rajapakse (SLFP). Another by-election had to be held when Richard Pathirana lost his seat in 1986 on an election petition, he himself contesting the Akmeemana seat again and winning over D G Albert Silva (UNP).

Removals through Election Petitions

There were other MPs who lost their seats on election petitions made against them: George E de Silva (Kandy) on February 24, 1948; Sir Senarath Gunawardena (Gampola) on March 12, 1948; R A de Mel (Colombo South) on August 23, 1948; T B Illangaratna (Kandy) on February 10, 1949; E L Senanayake (Kandy) on February 13, 1953; K M P Rajaratna (Welimada) on October 1, 1956; K M P Rajaratna (Welikanda) on May 25, 1961; G G Samaranayake (Bentara-Elpitiya) on November 22, 1965; Cliffard Ratwatte (Balangoda) on January 16, 1966; Percy Samaraweera (Welimada) on November 1, 1965; D S Samarasinghe (Kolonnawa) on June 23, 1966; P H W de Silva (Devinuwara) on April 6, 1966; Anil Munasinghe (Agalawatta) on August 10, 1966; K D D Perera (Bandaragama) on Novembver 5, 1955; W A Krunasena (Pelmadulla) on February 10, 1967; Percy Samaraweera (Welimada after the bye-election) on December 6, 1967; L C de Silva (Balapitiya after bye-election) on December 21, 1967; Nanda Ellawala (Ratnapura) on October 27, 1969; Gamini Dissanayake (Nuwara Eliya) on December 22, 1970; A B H Pilapitiya (Kalawana) on January 5, 1979; D G Albert de Silva (Galle) on September 10, 1979; Saddhatissa Wadigamangawa (Anamaduwa); A B H Pilapitiya (Kalawana) on October 8, 1980; and K Ananda Kularatna (Mulkirigala) on January 20, 1984.


There were may resignations from Parliament: E F N Gratian (Appointed MP) on March 15, 1947 to take up an appointment in the Supreme Court; J A Martinus (Appointed MP) on December 20, 1948 to take up appointment as High Commissioner in Australia; Dr T B Jaya (Colombo Central 2) on February 17, 1960 to take up appointment as High Commissioner in Pakistan; Sir Raseek Fareed on February 28, 1968 to take up appointment as High Commissioner in Pakistan; C Sundaralingam (Vauniya) on October 1, 1959; M S Dissanayake (Kalawewa) on October 21, 1959 on health reasons; M P de Soyza (Ratgama) on December 16, 1960 as he was found guilty by the Bribery Commission; D B Monnekulama (Kurunegala) on December 20, 1960 as he was found guilty by the Bribery Commission; M S Mudliyar Kariyappar ((Kalmunai); and M A M Jalaldeen (Potuwil 1) removed on February 25, 1983 on account of bribery accusation.

Earlier, Philip Gunawardene (Awissawella) who lost his seat as he was found guilty of instigating a strike. C Sundaralingam (Vauniya) lost his seat for boycotting Parliament as action against the government. M Tennekoan (Nikaweratiya) resigned from Parliament on January 4, 1964 in opposition to the government policy. S J V Chelvanayagam (Kankasanturai) resigned on October 3, 1972 as an act against the new constitution. J R Jayawardena (Colombo South 1 and Colombo West respectively) resigned twice, once on May 13, 1975 protesting against the extension of the period of Parliament, and again on February 4, 1978 to take up appointment as Executive President. On October 16, 1980, Sirima R D Bandaranaike (Attanagalle) was removed from Parliament on a motion brought against her.

There were many other resignations that followed: D E Malwaraarchchi (Kamburupitiya) on November 19, 1979; Dr Neville Arthur Fernando (Panadura) on December 23, 1981; M A Anura Daniel (Hewahata) on April 18, 1982; Dharmasena Attygalle (Kesbewa) on November 5, 1982; Selvaraja Yogachandran Kuttimani (Waddukkodai) on January 24, 1983; O S Perera (Bulathsinhala) on February 2, 1983;’ R J G de Mel (Devinuwara) on February 9, 1983.

Many UNP MPs – consequent upon tendering undated letters of resignation that came into effect at this time to test the anti-UNP vote at the presidential and referendum polls – resigned from seats on February 10, 1983. They were: Sumanadasa Abeywickrema (Baddegama), Sepala Akurugoda (Baddegama), Dr Ranjith Atapattu (Beliatta), P M B Cyril (Tissamaharama), D G Albert de Silva (Kamuburupitiya), Pathmin Fonseka (Panadura), T D Fransisco (Mulkirigala), Premaratna Gunasekera (Maharagama), Tudor Gunasekera (Mahara), Mervyn Kularatna (Eheliyagoda), P Sumatiratna (Habaraduwa), Ryter Tillekaratna (Ratgama), Harris Wanigasekera (Hakmana), Jinadasa Weerasinghe (Tangalle), Reginold Wijegunaratna (Mathugama) and V L Wijemanne (Kalutara).

In addition, M D H Jayawardena (Kaduwela) resigned from Parliament on May 30, 1983. M V de Silva (Minneriya) resigned on October 26, 1983 on account of serious illness. Thereafter, Gamini Jayasuriya resigned from the Homagama seat when a motion of removal of him from Parliament was listed for debate.

Forfeiture of Seats

There were many Tamil MPs from the TULF who lost their seats owing to boycotting of Parliament: F Sambandan (Trincomalee) on September 7, 1983; T Sivasidambaram (Vauniya) on October 5, 1983; V Dharmalingam (Manipei) on October 8, 1083; T Rasalingam (Uduppidy) and X M Sellathambu (Mulathiuv) on October 21, 1983; A Amirthalingam (Kankasanthurai), V Anandasangaree (Kilinochchi), K P Ratnam (Kaiyts), P Ganeshalingam (Padirippu), Dr Neelakandan Thiruchelvam (Waddukkodai), V N Nawaratnam (Chavakachcheri), V Yogeswaran (Jaffna), M Sivasidambaram (Nallur) and P S Soosaidasan (Mannar) all on October 22, 1983. A M Alalasundaran (Kopai) and K Thurairatnam (Peduruthuduwa) lost their seats on January 5, 1984.


The last topic which we shall examine is the death of Members of Parliament since its inception. The notable ones were those of Prime Minister D S Senanayake (Mirigama) in 1952, assassination of Prime Minister S W R D Bandaranaike (Attanagalla) on September 26, 1959, and the death of Dudley Senanayake (Dedigama) in 1973. There were many assassinations: Jinadasa Weerasinghe in July 1987 (Tangalle), Keerthi Abeywickrema died in August 1987 after bomb attack in Parliament (Deniyaya), Gamini Dissanayake (Nuwara Eliya District), Weerasinghe (Colombo District), G M Premachandra (Kurunegala District), Dr Gamini Wijesekera (Appointed MP), Ossie Gunasekera (Colombo District), Nalanda Ellawala (Ratnapura District), C V Gunaratna (Colombo District), Dr Neelan Thiruchelvam (Jaffna District), Joseph Pararajasingham (National List MP), Nadaraja Raviraj (Jaffna District), T Maheswaran on January 1, 2008 (Colombo District) and D M Dassanayake (Non-Cabinet Minister of Nation Building) on January 8, 2006.

Death occurred to E D Wickrematillake in November 1980 (Baddegama), George Abeygoonesekera in January 1981 (Hanguranketa), Charles Dias Wickrematillake in April 1981 (Baddegama), Bandulahewa Senadheera in January 1982 (Karandeniya), T Thirunavukarasu (Vaddukodai on August 1982), S Kathiravelupillai (Kopay died in February 1982), M Canagaratnam (second MP for Pottuvil), S B Heart (Hiriyala), Dr Leonard Kiriella (Eheliyagoda), M H K Jagathsena in August 1984 (Ambalangoda), M L A Fareeth (2nd MP for Batticaloa died in September 1985), Sarath Muttetuwagama (Kalawana), J M Kumaradasa (Wellawaya), C P J Seneviratna (Mahiyangana), Merril de Silva (resignation from the Minneriya seat in December 1983 owing to ill-health – and subsequent death) Nanda Ellawala (Ratnapura), M Vincent Perera (Colombo North), K D M C Bandara (Anuradhapura District(, Dharmasiri Senanayake (Kegalle District), Maithripala Senanayake (Anuradhapura), Gamini Athukorale (Ratnapura District) etc. The earlier deaths occurred were Somaweera Chandrasiri (Kesbewa), S M Asenkuddhoor (Puttalam), V A Sugathadasa (Colombo North), V A Alagacone (Mannar), R B Ratnamalala (Kalawewa), K C De Silva (Katana), G J Paris Perera (Ja-Ela), and George Rajapakse in 1976 (Mulkirigala).


The performance of some of the variables examined above in the article is going to be a recurrent matter. For example, at the time of almost finalizing this article, the news broke out that Minister D M Dassanayake was killed by a claymore blast in the Negombo-Colombo Road near the Rukmani Devi statue at Ja-Ela – on January 8, 2008. The other issue is the process or precession of political crossovers; it can happen either way. Removal of MPs through the legal process – it can be through election petitions, bribery charges or criminal accusations. This legal process is now on the wane.

It may due to many reasons: (a) preferment of election petitions under the present election system of proportional representation is not only complex, time-consuming and costly but also not rewarding at all; very rarely a defeated candidate has won an election petition or not at all; (b) by-elections under the present system of election are virtually not possible as the next in line on the list of preferential votes would be nominated should a vacancy arise; for example, the latest instances being Mohamed Rajabdeen (SLMC member on the UNP ticket) in place of slain Nadaraja Raviraj and Piyankara Jayaratna in place of slain Minister D M Dassanayake; and (c) charges of killings, political or otherwise, are at the moment are limited to one court case against two ministers for allegedly killing of Nalanda Ellawala, MP for Ratnapura District.

This article is one of the most comprehensive though there may be some lapses in the compilation of it. This is in a way a ‘situation article’ as the content in it is bound to change or for addition as the time goes by. This is the very reason why the present writer published a book on insurance entitled ‘Situation Essays’ on Insurance in Sri Lanka (2008).



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