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Govt. figures To join JO Rally at Nugegoda

Several government ministers would join the Joint Opposition at its rally scheduled to be held in Nugegoda town on Jan. 27, Kandy District MP Mahindananda Alugthgamage said yesterday.

Addressing the media at former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s office in Battaramulla, Aluthgamage said

the rally would be presided over by the former President and attended by leaders of all parties in the JO.

"Several government members and new parties would join us at the Nugegoda rally," MP Aluthgamage said, adding that the protest rally would be held against privatisation of state resources, political witch hunt against the JO members, the postponement of the local government election, increasing cost of living and police crackdown on public protests.

Aluthgamage said the protest rallies would be held in all districts of the country every month.

He said the government had already planned to sell 34 state institutions including part of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Ceylon Electricity Board, Sri Lanka Transport Board and Water Supply and Drainage Board.

Aluthgamage alleged that Prime Minister’s consultants R. Paskaralingam, Charitha Ratwatte and Minister Malik Samarawickrema had already finalised a list of public ventures to be sold.

"We have already complained against five government big guns including the PM to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption and to the Criminal Investigation Department three months ago, but there has been no response so far," he said adding that they would complain to the CIABOC and CID tomorrow against another government minister.

The government arrested members of the JO when they protested against its wrong doings, Aluthgamage said, noting Wimal Weerawansa had been arrested prior to the Nugegoda rally.

He said around 20 former local government members from the Hambantota and Matara Districts had also been arrested since Sunday night over the Hambantota incident, but no action had been taken against UNP thugs who attacked Buddhist monks and the people with stones on that day.

"There are several attempts to stop the Nugegoda rally, but we will go ahead with it," Aluthgamage added.

JO leader Dinesh Gunawardena, Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, Kandy District MP Keheliya Rambukwella and Matara District MP Kanchana Wijesekera also addressed the media conference.