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* Major Opposition supporter Thilanga Sumathipala joins government at ruling party public rally
Sunday, February 1, 2009, 15:59 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 01 Kandy: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed a massive public rally this evening in Hanguranketha, Kandy in support of the ruling party candidates of the upcoming Central Province Council polls.

A massive crowd attended the rally where Thilanga Sumathipala, former chairman of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board and former organizer of the main opposition United National Party for Anuradhapura joined the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) pledging his support.

Thilanga Sumathipala served as a one time great supporter of the chief minister candidate of UNP in Central Province S.B Dissanayake during the UNP government period from December 2001 to April in 2004.

Following the collapse of the UNP government in April 2004 Thilanga was jailed by the Supreme Court for allegedly supporting an underworld leader with fraud documents to travel to United Kingdom to see the cricket World Cup in 1999.

He is the head of Sumathi Publishers better known as Lakbima Newspaper Limited.

Picture by Sudath Silva

Sri Lankan Daily News and Reports

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