By Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera
Most of the expenditure heads of Internal & Home Affairs, Provincial Councils & Local Government Ministry of Vajira Abeywardane and Megapolis and Western Development Ministry of Champika Ranawaka were defeated in parliament yesterday during the committee stage debate.
When approval for the expenditure head 260 of the Internal and Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government Ministry was sought, UPFA MP Ranjith Soyza called for a division and a vote was taken thereafter.
Most of the government members were not present in the chamber when the vote was taken and the expenditure head was defeated by 18 votes with 38 members voting against it. Only 20 votes were received in favour including two TNA MPs.
Division was called for the expenditure heads from 261 to 289 of the Internal and Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government Ministry and all of them were defeated by 15 votes with 38 members voting against and only 23 voting in favour.
However, expenditure heads (155, 226, 227 and from 254 to 259) of that ministry were approved without a vote. Thereafter, the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development was taken up for approval and the opposition called for a division for that as well.
Accordingly, expenditure heads 162 and 311 of Megapolis and Western Province Development Ministry was defeated by 24 votes with 38 MPs voting against and 14, including two TNA MPs voting in favour.
JVP MPs were not present in the chambers at the time of voting.
During the adjournment debate which came after the vote, UPFA MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage claimed that they had defeated the heads of two main ministries and said this should be viewed as a warning to the government.
He said there was an internal objection from the backbenches to the ministry of Abeywardane and this defeat was a clear sign of it.
UNP MP Wijeyapala Hettiarachchi, who joined the debate said the defeat of two expenditure heads in this manner went against parliamentary tradition and said that they could have defeated the budget at the second reading if they are dared to do so.
Division was called for the expenditure heads from 261 to 289 of the Internal and Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government Ministry