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The glamorous face of Lankan politics

Sri Lankan politics has its share of interesting personalities. Not all of them could be called pleasantly so, of course. For example, there is this politician who routinely attacks journalists at press conferences, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.

world Updated: Sep 23, 2009 02:06 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Sri Lankan politics has its share of interesting personalities. Not all of them could be called pleasantly so, of course. For example, there is this politician who routinely attacks journalists at press conferences.

Then there are the radical Marxists who at the mere mention of the word ‘India’ will whip out protest banners and angry slogans; they are considered to be the soul keepers of the government. One politician is known to have hinted in Parliament that he was gay.

Many among them also ricochet between the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the opposition United National Party (UNP) faster than you can say ping pong.

Recently, Lankan politics got its dab of tinsel town glamour as well. Film actor Anarkali Akarsha, who loves to drop names of Hindi film actors, jumped — some was said prodded — into the election bandwagon from the UPFA.

She was given a ticket to fight in the southern provincial election in October from the prestigious Galle district.

Soon after, Anarkali, in her early ’20s, professed undying love for Sri Lanka and vowed to lay down her life for the country. Her countless fans, I am convinced, would have howled against the idea.

“I am myself have realised how important it is to be involved in humanitarian work and always help the less fortunate,’’ she said.

Unfortunately, a party colleague did not quite appreciate her humanitarian side. And if her statements about sacrifice and death were dramatic, the incident involving Nishantha Muthuhettigama, an UPFA candidate from the same council, was even more so.

Last week, Anarkali alleged that Nishantha had threatened her with violence.

Wrong, said Nisthantha at a press conference; instead, he felt like “grabbing and kissing her rather than throwing a bomb,’’ newspapers quoted him as having said. He followed that up with: “If she sits next to me for an hour she will be like my baby mouse.’’ But he finished it with a warning: “either get friendly with me or else I will not allow her to come near Galle.’’

Last heard, he had been picked up by the police and thrown in jail.