MPs and former heads of Local Government institutions backing the JO had not been allowed on stage and no-one representing them were included in the speaker list. MP Ranatunga had protested this move and stepped down the stage after explaining this to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Rohitha Abeygunawardena were the main organisers of the rally while the speakers’ list was set by Dulles Alahapperuma.
Organisers had also rejected a request by MP Ranatunga to allow former heads of Local Government institutions to join others on stage at least for a short while.
Airing his displeasure, the MP had stated,”It is I who brought along the majority of people to the rally… In 20 buses, so to speak. It was provincial councillors and former LG councillors who brought along these crowds. We cannot go further ahead by belittling them in this manner. Usually, the event here is organised by Wimal. Today, his absence is felt very much,” MP Ranatunga has said, before exiting the stage and taking up a seat with the provincial councillors below.
Rally, unsuccessful - UNP
Meanwhile, the UNP is of the opinion that yesterday’s rally was not a success.
Speaking, minister P. Harrison says this is confirmed by the fact that some who were to join the rally had changed their minds later.
Although it was said that a crowd of over 100,000 would attend the rally, intelligence sources had put down the figure to around 18,000, he added.