Mega Star dispute: Swarnavahini stands by SMS count


By Shamindra Ferdinando and Norman Palihawadana

Mega Star Ajith Weerasinghe being congratulated by runner-up MP Dayasiri Jayasekera. The Swarnavahini sponsored reality show came to an abrupt end immediately due to pandemonium after artiste turned businessman was declared the winner.

Swarnavahini says artiste turned businessman Ajith Weerasinghe is the real Mega Star, though a section of the crowd reacted violently due to their hot favourite Dayasiri Jayasekera not being declared the winner at Sri Lanka’s popular reality show, which ended on Sunday night. Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri, who was widely tipped to win easily became the runner-up.

Suresh Gamage secured the third place, while MP Upekksha Swarnamalini finished fourth. While denying irregularities at the Saturday’s final at the recently furbished Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, Swarnavahini spokesman Buddhika Kulasekera told The Island that the winner had been elected through SMS voting.

Kulasekera said that there had been absolutely no truth in the allegations that the sponsors had interfered with the SMS voting.

The winner told Swarnavahini news that he was grateful to those who had voted him Mega Star. A smiling Ajith Weerasinghe said that people rose against an injustice and helped him win the title.

The winner received a luxury house and a car.

A section of the crowd reacted angrily immediately after MP Jayaskera was declared the runner-up. Spectators threw bottles at the main stage, while some persons invaded the stage causing pandemonium.

Swarnavahini cut off the live coverage as the police and private security personnel intervened to control unruly spectators.

A spokesperson for MP Jayasekera told The Island that those who had brought tickets for the reality show felt cheated. She said that the crowd had reacted angrily as they believed there couldn’t have been anyone close to Dayasiri on that night. Responding to a query, she said that people believed Dayasiri would be followed by Suresh, Upekksha and Ajith.

MP Swarnamalini told The Island that she was disappointed with the result. Acknowledging that Dayasiri couldn’t have been beaten, she suggested that it would have been better had Swarnavahini conducted simultaneous competitions to select the most popular artiste through SMS and the panel of judges to pick the real winner.

Asked whether she would join reality shows conducted by television channels in the future, MP Swarnamalini said that she would have to think about that. She alleged that there had been shortcomings in the programme, particularly as regards discipline.

MP Ranjan Ramanayake told The Island that he, too, had been deprived of an opportunity by Swarnavahini to contest the final.

Earlier actress Damitha Abeyratne alleged that her exit from the contest had been engineered by an interested party.

In the run-up to the final, Some of the contestants, including at least one of the finalists publicly accused some members of the panel of judges of being biased. MP Rosy Senanayake recently incurred the wrath of some contestants when she declared following performances by them on a particular day that MP Jayasekera was the best, the second best and even the third best.


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