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Two Opposition MPs join Govt, made ministers

world Updated: Dec 16, 2009 20:05 IST

Opposing their party decision to support Gen Sarath Fonseka in the Presidential polls, two senior leaders of United National Party on Wednesday quit the outfit to join Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling party coalition and were immediately rewarded with ministerial berths.

UNP stalwarts -- Johnston Fernando and Indika Bandaranayake -- quit the party and pledged their "fullest" support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the January 26 Presidential polls.

While Fernando was appointed as Minister of Land Development and Raniwaru Welfare, Bandaranayake was made deputy minister of Natural Resources.

Speaking at a hurriedly-convened news conference, Fernando said that they decided to support the President because no candidate from the UNP was contesting the poll.

He accused UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe of engaging in revengeful politics to "destroy" the party, the official website said in a report.

Fernando alleged Sarath Fonseka was trying to destroy the good name of the armed forces and the country.

"Ranil has betrayed the party while Sarath Fonseka betrayed the armed forces and the nation," he charged.