The most envied minister in the UPFA cabinet this Sunday morning must undoubtedly be the Minister for Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera. Not only for his dashing looks and his jet black hair for a man of his age but mainly for receiving presidential benediction and special dispensation for his Badulla election flop.
It came in the form of 30-year-old Kuwait-born television actress, UPFA MP Upeksha Swarnamalie, better known as Paba after her popular screen role, charged with the presidential warrant to keep eyes focused on Dilan and his ministry and to monitor progress.
It had the ministers gritting their teeth in disbelief and undisguised envy, wondering if this was the reward for a simple failure what would be the gift for an electoral catastrophe.
At the arranged affair held at the ministry hall, seated on a plushy couch, the couple posed for the obligatory photographs to record their historic day. An excited Paba told reporters how it was on her own initiative she was appointed to be Dilan’s monitor. “I requested the president for this appointment to work for the ministry,” she said, “and following my request, the President appointed me as monitoring MP. My duties include overseeing the work of the ministry which comes under the purview of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera,”
The minister and the monitor: Dilan in the hot seat with bespectacled Paba as his monitor
Paba who contested the Gampaha district in 2010 and won the UNP seat soon crossed over to the more comfortable UPFA couch. She lived her glamour girl role and voted for the 18th Amendment though she confessed she did not have a clue as to what it was all about. Since then, however, she seems to have dusted off her stardust days and adopted a more homily, sari clad, prim and proper, middle class housewife image. The glasses she wore at the ceremony are, undoubtedly, to keep a keener, clearer eye on her new charge, Dilan Perera.
Well, some guys have all the luck. Out of favour Minister Mervyn Silva who — appearing as a judge at a TV Glamour Reality show in which Paba was a contestant — publicly expressed his strong desire to be in Paba’s arms suckling at her breast, must be feeling positively cold shouldered and would have sunk five feet lower in his self dug grave, hearing of Dilan’s good fortune to have close encounters with a monitoring MP of the Paba kind, in the line of duty to better discharge his ministerial responsibility to the nation.
The only question that remains to be asked is who will be keeping the glad eye on whom at the ministry? Will it be the monitor on the minister or the minister on the monitor?