Written by Lahiru Fernando
03 Sep, 2015 | 10:33 pm
TNA parliamentary group leader and Trincomalee District MP R. Sampanthan was on Thursday appointed Opposition Leader of the eighth Parliament by the Speaker of the Parliament, Karu Jayasuriya when parliament convened for the second day.
According to the Speaker, the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has written to him citing that it will not make any request for the post of Opposition Leader of the eighth Parliament of Sri Lanka. He thus informed the house that he accepts Parliamentary Group Leader of the Illangai Tamil Arasu Katchchi , R. Sampanthan as the Opposition Leader.
In a heated debate on the matter, UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa made a point stating that 59 MPs from the UPFA had signed a document pertaining to the post of opposition leader and handed it over to the Chairman of the Party, President Maithripala Sirisena two days ago, requesting for Kumara Welgama and also Mahindananda Aluthgamage as Chief Opposition Whip.
Responding to Weerawansa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that a letter was sent by the Chairman of the UPFA, President Sirisena, citing that the request cannot be accepted at the moment and that reasons too were provided for it.
Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, born on February 5, 1933, made history today as the Opposition Leader of the eighth Parliament of Sri Lanka and the second Tamil-speaking Opposition Leader in the country’s history after Appapillai Amirthalingam.
The father of R. Sampanthan, A. Rajavarothiam, served as a Superintendent of the Gal – Oya Project. He is also related to MPs S. Sivabalan and N.R. Rajavarothiam, who represented the Trincomalee District.
R.Sampanthan was educated at St. Patrick’s College, Jaffna , St. Anne’s College,Kurunegala, St. Joseph’s College,Trincomalee and St. Sebastian’s College,Moratuwa and later entered the law college.
R. Sampanthan who entered the legal profession joined the Illangai Tamil Arasu Katchchi and entered active politics in 1956. Sampanthan contested the 1977 General Elections under the TULF and entered Parliament and also served as the Co-Treasurer, Deputy Chairman and General Secretary of the party.
R. Sampanthan boycotted Parliament as a mark of protest to the 1983 Black July incident and lost his parliamentary seat as a result. He later contested the 1989 General Elections from the Trincomalee District. However, he was unable to enter Parliament that time around but re-entered Parliament in 2001.
He led the TNA at the 2015 General Elections and the ITAK won 16 Parliamentary seats.
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