On Monday evening, pictures of Salman Khan and his Kick leading lady, Jacqueline Fernandez with incumbent Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa went viral online.
Across the border this was seen as a last-ditch effort by the President to boost his prospects in the upcoming elections scheduled for January 8.
The superstar’s public endorsement of Rajapaksa has invited the ire of Tamil parties, DMK and MDMK, back home.
A controversial figure, the Lankan President was at the helm of affairs in 2009 when civilian casualties in the Tamil-dominated areas in Sri Lanka’s Northeast reportedly peaked during the final leg of conflict between Lankan army and the LTTE. MDMK chief Vaiko has dubbed Salman a “betrayer” and a “traitor” following Monday’s ‘special appearance’.
Taking up for the actor, Jacqueline said that it was she who insisted that Salman extend the efforts of his Being Human charity to parts of her home country too.
“That was the main purpose of this visit. Salman donated 200 lenses to facilitate cataract operations in certain under-privileged areas. He also donated money. It bothers me that people can’t see the good in any initiative. All they want to do is identify an ulterior agenda behind every good cause,” the former Miss Sri Lanka groused.
When it was pointed out that rather than a charity endeavour, the trip seemed to be an attempt to bolster Rajapaksa’s chances in the upcoming the elections, with Salman adding star power to his campaign, Jacqueline retorted, “Salman is an individual in his own right who knows both Rajapaksa and his son Namal well.
If he wants to drum up support for Rajapaksa that’s his choice and nobody can question it.” However, she was quick to point out that her participation was limited to volunteering for the charity.
“My political views are personal and I’d like them to remain so,” she said. When asked if she’s worried about the backlash in India, she said, “I’d rather focus on the awareness we’ve spread rather than this silly circus.”