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THE BIG FAT BJP WEDDING 1 Year, 5 Months ago  
Lavish, multi-crore extravaganza to fete union of Kakde and Deshmukh clans invites massive flak, amid BJP’s recent strictures around austerity, simplicity

Whether it be the recent move by the prime minister Narendra Modi government to end the VIP culture, or talks to take up the issue of farmer suicides on war footing, all indications by the current political dispensation seem to have pointed in the direction of austerity.

At loggerheads with this ideology, ironically, was the lavish extravaganza organised on Sunday by leaders of the same ruling group — the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — Sanjay Kakade and Subhash Deshmukh, spending crores of rupees in celebration of their children’s wedding.

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Interestingly, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis — who had recently advised all BJP leaders to adopt the ideology of ‘simplicity’ — was spotted in attendance with his wife, Amruta, at the ostentatiously decorated, sprawling venue of Balewadi stadium. Union minister Nitin Gadkari was also spotted at the evening reception.

The dazzling pageant was organised to celebrate the marriage of BJP Member of Parliament (MP) Kakade’s daughter, Komal, with state cooperatives minister Deshmukh’s son, Rohan.

A major portion of the sizeable sports arena was hired and decorated painstakingly, not unlike some multi-crore blockbuster set. While the wedding took place in the morning, the reception was held postsundown — but, there were scant repeats in arrangements at the two ceremonies, with event management firms hustling around to pull off the perfect décor and service. Scores of food counters, literally millions of flowers used to ornament the premises, spectacular lighting, hired foreigners plucking at piano strings around the venue, and a performance by ace percussionist Sivamani to enthral visitors were just a few of the perks of attendance.

The wedding was held just a few days after BJP’s state executive meeting, held in Pimpri-Chinchwad, in which Fadnavis specifically asked party workers to adopt simple living and avoid the VIP culture. Meanwhile, this is not exactly the first lavish wedding of BJP leaders’ progeny that has plonked itself into some controversy. Recently, another such occasion, at which BJP state chief Raosaheb Danve’s son Santosh got married in Aurangabad, invited flak for its extravagance.

Before coming to power, BJP leaders had taken the lead in criticising the lavish weddings of the children of Congress and NCP leaders, when in opposition in the state. Digs had been taken at the wedding of NCP leader Bhaskar Jadhav’s son, held in Konkan in 2013. After BJP won majority vote, Fadnavis has repeatedly asked party workers to “not bring Congress and NCP culture into the party”. Sunday’s event seemed to be experiencing some temporary amnesia about these strictures, however.

After plenty of criticism online and in political corridors, by evening on Sunday, Kakade and Deshmukh came together to announce a Rs 2-crore donation to the education of children from economically weaker sections — the veritable cruise ship, however, seems to have sailed.

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