By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana
The second reading of the maiden budget of UNF government was passed in Parliament yesterday by a majority a 43 votes with 119 voting for it and 76 against.
UNP, TNA and UPFA MPs Arumugum Thondaman and Muttu Sivalingam voted for it while other UPFA members and JVP voted against.
Total number of 29 members including Chief Opposition Whip Mahinda Amaraweera, UPFA MPs Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Dayasiri Jayasekera, Mahinda Samarasinghe, Faizer Musthpha, Kadar Mastan, Angajan Ramanathan, Nimal Siripala de Silva and Lasantha Alagiyawanna were absent during the time of voting.
A large group of MPs from UPFA who were supporters of Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa voted against while EPDP Member Douglas Devananda was absent. UPFA MP Sriyani Wijewickrama who was identified as a Mahinda Rajapaksa loyalist and then turned Sirisena loyalist also voted against the budget with the pro-Rajapaksa group.
President Sirisena was inside the chambers when the debate was going on and left a while later.