Dinesh Gunawardena, The New Sri Lankan PM Whose Parents Fought In Indian Independence War

Sri Lanka's new PM also has a unique connection with India. His father Philip and mother Kusuma eloped from Sri Lanka to India at the time of the Second World War.

By Anushka Vats
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 01:28 PM IST
Minute Read
Dinesh Gunawardena, The New Sri Lankan PM Whose Parents Fought In Indian Independence War
Image Source: Twitter/@DCRGunawardena

Amid the ongoing economic crisis, Sri Lanka on Friday got its new Prime Minister as seventy-two-year-old Dinesh Gunawardena sworn in as Premier.

Gunawardena, who was the foreign affairs and education minister in the Gotabaya-Mahinda government, took the oath in the presence of President Wickremesinghe, who was seated in front of uniformed military officers in a room packed with lawmakers and officials.

Gunawardena, who is known for being blunt, is a close confidante of former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksha. He has completed his studies in the United States and the Netherlands and is a fierce fighter like his father Philip Gunawardena, who is also referred to as the father of socialism in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's new PM also has a unique connection with India. His father Philip and mother Kusuma eloped from Sri Lanka to India at the time of the Second World War.

Both of them had also joined hands with the underground activists who were fighting for freedom and evaded arrest for some time. In 1943, they were apprehended by British Intelligence and were locked in Arthur Road jail in Bombay. Both of them, after a year, were deported to Sri Lanka and released only after the end of the war.

First Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru also went to their family home in Sri Lanka and thanked them personally for being a part of India’s freedom movement.

Both Philip and Kusuma also became members of parliament after Sri Lanka gained freedom from the United Kingdom in 1948. Philip was a founding leader and cabinet minister of the People’s Revolution government in 1956. All his four children have also held high political posts, including the Mayor of Colombo, cabinet ministers, MPs, etc.

Gunawardena, just like his parents has a clean image and he has been a strong cabinet minister for over 22 years.

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