The president, exercising the powers vested in him by clause 46 (3) (a) of the constitution, removed Arundika Fernando from the position of deputy minister of tourism and Christian religious affairs. For some time, Arundika has been having close connections with the joint opposition and on several occasions made remarks criticizing the government.
Meeting his party chief, president Maithripala Sirisena, he demanded money to remain in the party. The president said he could not agree to that. He said that unlike Mahinda Rajapaksa, he had no need to bribe or show files to keep anyone in the party, and asked him to leave if he wants.
Demanded Rs. 200 m from Ranil
Later, he met the prime minister and said he would join the UNP if given Rs. 200 million, and his company granted contracts in the central expressway project. Arundika’s hopes were dashed as highways minister Lakshman Kiriella had already given the contract to another company.
Therefore, Arundika has decided to join the JO, and has obtained money, with Basil Rajapaksa already giving him Rs. five million, with a promise for more after he joined the JO.
Arundika had planned to join the UNP after the last presidential election. He demanded the Puttalam district party leadership, but Wickremesinghe refused. Then, he contested on the UPFA ticket and got elected to parliament.