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 A Bodhi Pooja was held at the Parliamentary Complex yesterday to invoke blessings on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who completed 40 years in Parliament. Picture shows Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his wife Prof. Maithri Wickremesinghe making offerings to the Buddha statue. Picture by Thilak Perera

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that a political solution should be evolved during the term of this Parliament to ensure that people of all communities enjoy equal rights.

“We should evolve a political solution within the period of the current Parliament, to ensure that no citizen receives step motherly treatment, while sincerely thanking all members who joined in the special felicitation session to congratulate him as he completes 40 years in Parliamen,” the PM said.

The Prime Minister making the winding up speech, invited all to work together to achieve consistent economic growth and lay the foundation for a stable and advanced economy.

“Now the war is over. We have to work for national unity, resolving of the national question, rebuilding of economy and attaining development. It is time for us to cast aside ethnic divisions and work tirelessly to accomplish these goals. Parliament will play a central role in all our endeavours. We have strengthened Parliamentary powers and democracy to cater to this mission,” the Premier said.

Recollecting his past political experiences, the Prime Minister said, “We learnt to go back to the Opposition after being in the ruling party. This experience is similar to King Walagamba hiding in the jungle. Only those who have undergone it understand it,” the Premier quipped.

Speaking of what he learnt from being in politics for decades, the Prime Minister said valuing advices of elderly scholars as “gold” and learning from his own experiences helped him to achieve success.

The Premier expressed his gratitude for former Presidents late J.R Jayewardene and R. Premadasa for their guidance to shape his political career. “From being an MP, I climbed up the ladder to be a Deputy Minister, Minister, Opposition Leader and the Prime Minister. In my political life, I saw how the country grappled with insurgencies, separatism, terrorism and war. There had also been an impeachment of a President, assassination of a President and assassination of an Opposition Leader. Then there had been exercises to usher in peace. We saw the end of war and jailing of the war winning Army Commander. For the first time a large number of civil groups came together to support Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena and subsequent to his victory we formed a national unity government. All these are crucial landmarks in my political journey,” the Prime Minister reminisced.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Wickremesainghe also mentioned his contemporaries Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan and Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera who entered Parliament together with him 40 years ago ago.

“Their Parliamentary service was interrupted as Sampanthan decided to resign from his Parliamentary seat over a policy decision and Jayawickrema Perera resigned to contest the Provincial Council elections,” the PM recollected.

While thanking all who supported him in his political journey including his parents, wife, family members, staff and party members, the Premier gave out four advices from his years of political experience. “Discipline yourself. Be patient. Work without any jealousy. Accept both victory and defeat alike,” he stated.

The Premier wrapped up his speech referring to ‘Dhammapadaya’ in which he highlighted the message that ‘the intellectuals do practice self-control’.