| by Janaka Alahapperuma

( December 23, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa hosted his customary dinner for Ministers and Parliamentarians after the 2014 Budget was passed with a majority of 95 votes over the last weekend. Sixty members voted against the Budget while 155 voted in favour. The proceedings of the Budget 2014, which started in November when President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance presented the budget in parliament. As usual the main opposition United National Party (UNP), Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) voted against the budget on last Friday (20 December).

President Rajapaksa, First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe, Deputy Leader of UNP Sajith Premadasa, Leader of TNA, R. Sampanthan and a host of other guests were present at the occasion. Speaker of Pakistan National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq was a special guest at the dinner.

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and the Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva warmly received the President and the First Lady upon arrival at the Speaker’s official residence. However, there was greater enthusiasm among parliamentarians of both the Government and the Opposition as President Mahinda Rajapaksa walked in. They all took turns to exchange pleasantries with the President. Many Ministers and parliamentarians sang several popular songs at the occasion. Irrespective of their political affiliations, Ministers and parliamentarians joined in, singing and clapping.

Pix by: Sudath Silva