Dudley’s 33 day government

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By 2017-10-08

By Priyantha Silva
Prime Minister S. W.

R. D. Bandaranaike passed away on 26 September 1959. At that point, Prime Minister Vijayananda Dahanayake's caretaker government took over. A general election was then held on 19 March 1960. When the results were issued, Dahanayake had been defeated in his Galle electorate.

N. M. Perera seconded this proposal. Albert Pieris got 60 votes while T. B. Subasinghe got 93 votes and became the Speaker. The proposal of the government was defeated. Accordingly, during the first session of Dudley's government, its first proposal was defeated. It was of significance that a Speaker from the Opposition had been appointed for the first time in history. At the proposal debate, N. M. Perera said that an effort to establish a government with a lesser number of seats was a cause for humour. On 23 April 1960, the government was dissolved. The tenure of the government was only 33 days. The SLFP gained victory in the election held in July 1960. There were several reasons for this victory. The main one was, that the leader of the SLFP, C. P. De Silva resigning. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was appointed as the leader. That caused people loyal to her, to raise their expectations. At the same time, there feelings of sympathy towards her, due to the murder of her husband. Another reason for the victory was the contesting of the elections with an agreement between the SLFP, LSSP and the Communist Party.

A common experience in the political world is that every government which submitted budget proposals that did not agree with people's expectations was subject to the displeasure of the people. It was the same situation in our country. The hartal in August 1953 was proof of this. That is why, every government that followed, tried to present budget proposals to win over the people. Subsequent to establishing an SLFP Government, backbenchers said that the government should be taken forward by presenting people-friendly economic proposals. Members of the parties of the Left, who supported the government, encouraged the progressive proposals to be taken forward. At the end of the 1962, the budget debate presented by the then Finance Minister Felix Dias Bandaranaike, was defeated and he had to leave his post. The reason was the increase in prices of several essential goods. It is said that there was an attempt to cut off concessions as well. Subsequently, even though C. P. De Silva and P. B. G. Kalugalle were appointed as finance ministers, they remained in the post only for a short period of time.
Subsequently it was T. B. Ilangaratne who was a general clerk in the Government Service who was appointed as the Minister of Finance. He was a government employee who had been deprived of his job due to the 1947 strike. His inaugural budget was presented on 1 August 1963 in Sinhala. It took a total of four hours.

He made arrangements to reduce the prices of essential items such as bread, textiles and kerosene oil. Proposals to reduce the burden on the general public were included in the budget and a business turnover tax was imposed on businessmen. One significant incident that took place during that era was that Ilangaratne who was a government clerk and had lost his job during the strike, was appointed to the post of Minister of Finance and was able to present a budget that was people friendly.

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