COLOMBO: The late lamented Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, former President of India and a much admired figure in Sri Lanka, has been drafted into the parliamentary election campaign now in full swing in the island nation.
A group of professionals backing Patali Champika Ranawaka, the energetic Lankan Minister of Power and Energy who is standing for election from Colombo district, has put in a full-page advertisement in the Colombo dailies describing him as a “trusted companion” of the “great visionary” Dr.Abdul Kalam. The ad said that Ranawaka will bring clean and affordable energy to Sri Lanka and ensure its energy independence, just as Kalam did in India.
The somber black and white ad is in two parts: The first, which has a picture of a smiling Kalam, declares: “ We salute you, Sir. One man with one mission brought energy security to his motherland, India, and lifted her to the level of world powers. His passion was to see his neighboring countries also reach energy independence and security, indigenously, affordably and cleanly, to ensure quality and value-added living.”
The second part, which has a picture of Kalam and Ranawaka in earnest conversation taken at the international alternative energy conference held here in June, says that Kalam believed in “one man”, namely, Ranawaka, “a son of the island soil, Sri Lanka, to bring about his vision into a reality one day.”
Addressing Ranawaka, the ad says: “We all professionals are proud of you, Hon.Minister Champika, for being a trusted companion of this great visionary and giving us the opportunity to be inspired by his great ideology just a few days ago before his departure for ever.”
The reference was to Kalam’s visit to Colombo in June, which was his last to Lanka. The jam-packed hall at the Galadari Hotel listened to the iconic Indian with rapt attention as he spoke about the practicability of using alternative clean energy technologies in his inimitable simple and telling way.
Groups from all over the island, especially, the Tamil north and the Tamil-speaking Muslim community, were eager to host him, but to their utter dismay, time was too short and he went away never to come back again.