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Tense situationin Parliament Over vote on Supplementary Estimate

A tense situation prevailed during the last few minutes in Parliament yesterday when Joint Opposition and JVP members claimed the results of vote on the Supplementary Estimate of Rs. 55 million were incorrect.

Declaring the results, presiding member Lucky Jayawardena said 33 voted for while 31 voted against. However, after scrutinsing CCTV camera footage, it was decided that the result was incorrect. According to the investigation, 31 had voted for and 31 had voted against. Due to this situation, the vote would have to be taken up some other day.

The debate on the Supplementary Estimate commenced at 10.00 a.m. and lasted until 6.00 p.m.

At 5.45 p.m. JVP Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake asked for a division and the quorum bell was rung for five minutes. Once the vote was about to be completed some members were heard saying a few other members had come to the House and needed them to be counted. They were also added and the decision was declared. However, when the decision was declared, Joint Opposition and JVP member shouted in protest of the results alleging it was incorrect. Some were seen walking into the Well of the House.

Meanwhile, presiding member Lucky Jayawardena adjourned Parliament until 9.30 a.m. today and ordered the Mace be taken away. It was taken away by Sergeant-at-Arms Anil Parakrama Samarasekara. Around 30 Joint Opposition and government members walked into the Well. Some members returned to their seats. Government and Opposition members were seen speaking to each other in the Well. However, a considerable number of government and opposition members who were not present at the time of vote were seen rushing in from time to time. However, government members left the Floor soon and Joint Opposition members remained in the House until around 6.50 p.m.

However, Joint Opposition and JVP members reached a decision to watch the CCTV video footage of in the House. They met Secretary General Dhammika Dassanayake and watched the footage until 8.85 p.m. JVP Parliamentarian Bimal Ratnayake in the mid of investigation around 7.45 p.m. said it seemed that the result was incorrect. “The matter as to how to deal with this situation politically and legally would be discussed today in Parliament,” Ratnayake said.

MEP member Sisira Jayakody told the media around 8.00 p.m. while the investigation was in progress that according to the existing details the results of the vote should be 29 for the motion and 31 against.

He added that Mujubur Rahuman had mistakenly counted twice. The CCTV footage of four angles were scrutinised by the members and the Secretary General. Three footage were watched in the Secretary General’s office and it was decided to watch the last footage in Committee Room 01. They all moved into the room at around 8.35 p.m. Around 8.55 p.m. the investigation was over.

“It was decided that the results was incorrect. According to the investigation results, 31 had voted for and 31 had voted against. Due to this situation again the vote would have to be taken up some other day,” Opposition Member Dinesh Ginawardena said. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that they would raise this matter in Parliament today.

Meanwhile, UNP Parliamentarian Ashuboda Marasinghe said the Joint Opposition members move to force the Secretary General of Parliament to scrutinise the CCTV footage of the final vote on the Supplementary Sum was totally illegal.

He made this observation to media in the Parliamentary Complex after Joint Opposition and JVP members made statements that the result of the vote was incorrect following Secretary General Dhammika Dassanayake, other officials and members watched video footages.

Marasinghe said if they did not agree with the results there was an accepted procedure to raise a question. He added that it was an illegal influence made by Joint Opposition members to force the Secretary General to study the videos.

He added that as government members they would raise this issue in Parliament today.