|Late PM Sirimavo did not give into external pressure - President
|Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - 4.44 GMT
President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that the Late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike took bold decisions for the benefit of the people and the country at large without giving into pressure exerted by foreign countries.
The President was speaking at the ceremony marking the 50th Anniversary of Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike being elected as the World’s first woman Prime Minister, at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Centre yesterday (7 Dec).
A commemorative volume of Madam Bandaranaike was presented to President Rajapaksa by the Chairman of Bandaranaike Museum Committee Ms. Sunethra Bandaranaike.
The President recalled how the Late Prime Minister pioneered in taking over of the petroleum industry under the Government’s control in the backdrop of various threats posed by foreign countries. He said that some foreign countries threatened the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government that they would stop the wheat flour subsidy, if the country’s oil industry which was run by a foreign company was taken over by the Government.
'She showed her determination and commitment for the service of the people in the face of excessive pressure from foreign countries'.
President Rajapaksa said the victories won by the people in 1956 could have been reversed if Late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike did not come to power.
President Rajapaksa appreciated her foreign policy. He said the Late Prime Minister managed to maintain a very close relations with foreign countries specially our neighbours. This cordial friendship helped solve many burning issues amicably.
He added that Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike strengthened the victories won by the people in the 1956 renaissance under the leadership of Late Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike.
He said the people who underwent untold hardships under the colonial rule for over four centuries, could have been further denied their basic rights if she was not elected to the post of Premiership.
'She became the world’s first woman Prime Minister when the country was at crossroads in its history. Her bold decision ensured free and equal access to education for all children', he said.
She took the missionary schools under the Government’s fold to ensure every student free access for education. The President said that leaders of many countries recollect the visits of world’s first woman Prime Minister - Madam Bandaranaike to their countries when they were small children with much appreciation and honour.
The President vowed that the SLFP would be built in line with her vision. “A majority of members at the Nominations Board for the General election in 1970 preferred my brother to contest the election. But it was Madam Bandaranaike who insisted that I should be nominated,” he added.
Members of the Maha Sangha led by Kelaniya University Vice Chancellor Ven Welamitiyawe Kusaladhamma, Prime Minister D M Jayaratne and Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga were among those present.