Don Stephen Senanayake

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Official portrait of DS Senanayake

DS Senanayake (born October 20, 1883 in Botale , Negombo , Ceylon , † March 22, 1952 in Colombo ) was an independence fighter and first Prime Minister of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka ) from 1947 to 1952.

Origin and career

DS Senanayake was the son of Mudaliyar Don Spater Senanayake (1847-1907) and Dona Catherina Elizabeth Perera Gunasekera Senanayake (1852-1949). He came from a wealthy Buddhist family from Botale.

Political career

All 3 Senanayake brothers - Don Charles, Fredrick Richard and Don Stephen - have been politically active in the Lanka Mahajana Sabha party since 1919 . After Fredrick Richard's death in 1925, DS Senanayake took over the leadership of the party. He was elected to the State Council in 1931 , became Minister of Agriculture and, as such, was a member of the Ceylon War Cabinet during World War II. He founded the United National Party (UNP) on September 6, 1946 and resigned from the cabinet to achieve Ceylon independence. Ceylon became the British Dominion in June 1947 . On September 24, 1947 he became Prime Minister of Ceylon. On February 4, 1948, complete independence followed within the British Commonwealth under the leadership of the UNP. After the sudden death of DS Senanayake on March 22, 1952 in a riding accident, his son Dudley Shelton Senanayake became Prime Minister on March 26, 1952.

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