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Tissa, Ketagoda join UPFA

MR springs elephantine surprise:



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By Dasun Edirisinghe


UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake, MP and Deputy Leader of Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s Democratic Party, Colombo District MP Jayantha Ketagoda joined UPFA and pledged to support President Mahinda Rajapaska at Temple Trees yesterday.


A presidential aide told The Island that more UNPers had expressed their willingness to cross over and they would join the President within the next few days.


President Rajapaksa received Attanayake and Ketagoda after returning from the Elections Secretariat, Rajagiriya, where he handed over his nominations papers.


Before his defection UNP National List MP Attanayake handed over the resignation letter as the party’s General Secretary and all other positions including the member of the Leadership


Council and Organiser of the Kundasale electorate to the UNP Headquarters Sirikotha yesterday morning.


Attanayake was first elected to Parliament in 1989 and served as the Cabinet Minister of Kandurata Development in 2002 – 2004 Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNF government.


He was elected the UNP General Secretary in 2004 and appointed a National List MP in 2010.


Speaking at a UNP gathering in the Gampaha District on Saturday, Attanayake said that their wish was to appoint an UNPer such as Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa as the opposition presidential candidate, but the party had decided to support Maithripala Sirisena.


Attanayake said that although they respected the party decision, he could not assure UNPers all around the country a future UNP government.


Former actor Jayantha Ketagoda first entered Parliament in 2000 on the UNP ticket; he served as the Kaduwela and Awissawella UNP organiser until he joined Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s campaign in 2010.


Due to imprisonment of Gen. Fonseka, he entered Parliament again and was later appointed Democratic Party’s Deputy Leader.


Addressing the gathering at Rajagiriya just after handing over nominations President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that it was not a big challenge for him to bring a General Secretary from another party after the SLFP General Secretary left them.


President Rajapaksa also said that the door was open for anyone to join his campaign.


Meanwhile, UNP Kegalle District MP Kabir Hashim would be appointed as the party’s new General Secretary by UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sirikotha announced yesterday evening.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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