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Wimal will remain with the Joint Opposition

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said although UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa wanted to brake ranks with the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), he would remain with the Joint Opposition (JO).

Responding to questions raised by journalists at Abhayaramaya in Narahenpita, Rajapaksa said not only Weerawansa many other UPFA parliamentarians who now backed the JO in Parliament would withdraw from the UPFA in the future.

On Wednesday, National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa requested from Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in parliament to accept five NFF MPs including himself as an independent group since they had severed all their connections with the UPFA.

Weerawansa told the House that NFF parliamentarians were no longer with the UPFA as they had severed all relations with the Alliance and asked their five MPs to be accepted as an independent group.

Ratnapura District MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara too told Parliament: "We contested under the betel leaf symbol. We agreed to do so under the leadership of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Thereafter some got together and wrote false instruments and deprived us of our rights. We hope that our rights and the rights of those who voted for us would be protected."

Speaker Jayasuriya promised Weerawansa a decision on his request at the party leaders meeting scheduled for Thursday.

Responding to questions asked by journalists, former President Rajapaksa said not only Wimal Weerawansa and his four MPs, but also Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Udaya Gammanpila too would function independently in Parliament soon.

"We know their decision, however they will remain with the Joint Opposition in the future too," Rajapaksa added.