Salman Khan accompanied his Sri Lankan co-star Jacqueline Fernandez to Colombo to campaign for Mr Rajapaksa on the invitation of the latter’s son Namal, who is reportedly the actress’ friend.
“He is a betrayer,” said Vaiko of the MDMK, who is part of the BJP-led ruling NDA. Tamil parties across the board, accuse Mr Rajapaksa of orchestrating war crimes in his country.
The DMK’s TKS Elangovan said, “Salman Khan going to campaign for Rajapaksa is highly condemnable.”
The Lankan leader is contesting for a third stint as Lanka President. This is reportedly the first time that a Bollywood actor has been roped in for a poll campaign in Sri Lanka.
Beset by mass defections from his ruling coalition to the opposition challenger Maithripala Sirisena, Mr Rajapaksa is believed to have suffered a loss of popular support. Roping in the Bollywood stars is seen as an attempt to boost his sagging campaign.
Tamil Nadu parties allege that civilian casualties and human rights violations against Tamils peaked in 2009 during the last leg of the war against the LTTE with Mr Rajapaksa in charge.
Earlier this year, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa stayed away from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony because Mr Rajapaksa was invited.
In a statement she had said that the invitation to the Lankan president had “deeply upset the people of Tamil Nadu and wounded their sentiments.”
It is a very sensitive political issue in Tamil Nadu, where assembly elections are due in 2016. (NDTV)