Mega Star: ‘SMS battle’ between two UNP MPs


By Shamindra Ferdinando

The stage is set for an all out ‘SMS battle’ between UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera and UNP rebel MP Upeksha Swarnamalini aka Pabha at the ‘Mega Star’ singing contest on Oct. 30 at the newly refurbished Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium.

The two UNP MPs are among four contestants chosen for the contest. Suresh Gamage and Ajith Weerasinghe survived the competition, which began with the participation of 36 persons. Another UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake lost during the last stage of the competition due to a drop in SMS votes.

It could have been an all UNP affair if Gampaha District MP Swarnamalini hadn’t switched her allegiance to President Rajapaksa at the recent vote on the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

The four-member panel of judges comprises Shirley Waijantha, Rajiv Sebastian, Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva, MP and Rosy Senanayake, MP.

Some of the contestants, including at least one of the finalists have publicly accused some members of the panel of judges of being biased. Ms. Senanayake recently earned 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.

The Kurunegala District MP Jayasekera widely believed to be the frontrunner at the forthcoming contest says he never tried to exploit his popularity as a politician during the contest. Asked whether he would turn ‘Mega Star’ final into an ‘SMS battle’ between the UNP and the UPFA, he emphasised that he wouldn’t engage in cheap tactics at the final. The UNPer who had been at the forefront of the Reformists’ campaign targeting UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he had taken up the ‘Mega Star’ challenge while being in politics. "Had I been an artiste turned politician, people could have accused me of exploiting my profession to enter politics," he told The Island.

Responding to criticism that he had accepted Deputy Minister Silva as a judge, MP Jayasekera said that he might not agree with the Gampaha District MP’s politics but didn’t see any problem with having him on the panel of judges. "Deputy Minister Silva is better than many other politicians as far as his love for music is concerned," the UNPer said.

MP Jayasekera said that he had no idea what the winner would get, though the Swarnavahini has declared that the Mega Star would receive the biggest award given at any such contest in Sri Lanka.

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