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Central Province Chief Minister dies

By J.A.L. Jayasinghe
Central Province Chief Minister W. D. M. P. B. D. Dissanayake died yesterday after a prolonged illness. He was 76.

Weerasooriya Dissanayake Mudiyanselage Punchi Banda Dissanayake started his political career in 1969 having unsuccessfully contested the Gampola seat at the 1970 general elections and was elected to parliament in 1977 in the UNP landslide victory. President J.R. Jayewardene appointed him as the Kandy district minister in 1978. With the formation of Provincial Councils, he became the first Central Provincial Chief Minister in 1988 and was re-elected in 1993.

In the Provincial Council elections held in 1998 he won his seat but with UNP losing the Council he became a member of the opposition with the change of the political scene he was elected chief minister in 2002 and continued to hold the post until his death. Prior to joining politics, Mr. Dissanayake worked as a teacher, a Customs officer and a labour officer.

He was born on April 16, 1927 and was educated at St. Sylvester's College, Kandy. He was a member of the working committee of the UNP and was regarded as an experienced politician being well versed in all three languages. He leaves behind two daughters and a son.

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