President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and a host of other political leaders participated in an event to honour former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, on the occasion of her 70th birthday which fell on 29 June.
The event took place amid serious turmoil on the political front, after President Sirisena agreed to grant his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa a nomination on the UPFA ticket last Friday.
During his speech Prime Minister Wickremesinghe asked President Sirisena light-heartedly to let everyone know if the 8 January revolution and their plan of work were still on track.
An address by the Director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, Prof. Rajeev Bhargava was held at the BMICH last evening, to celebrate the life and work of President Kumaratunga.
President Sirisena was the Chief Guest at the event, while Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was Guest of Honour. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Ministers M.K.D.S. Gunewardane, Duminda Dissanayake, Rajitha Senaratne and Deputy Minister Eran Wickremaratne were present at the occasion.
During his speech, President Sirisena hailed Kumaratunga’s contribution towards ‘shaping’ Sri Lanka and said she had been the first to suggest to him that he should step forward as the common candidate.
“At first I didn’t think she was serious,” he quipped.
President Sirisena painted Kumaratunga as a pro-peace President and said she had been a consultative leader. He highlighted the contribution of the Bandaranaike political family towards shaping the country.
The President judiciously avoided the Prime Minister’s pointed question.