Off the Wall

India politician’s Sh7.5b wedding for daughter censured

An Indian politician has been criticised after reportedly spending billions on a lavish wedding for his daughter as a cash crisis sweeps the country.

Gali Janardhana Reddy’s daughter, Brahmani, was thrown a five-day extravaganza which cost an estimated Sh7.5 billion (5billion rupee), according to Indian media reports.

The wedding, attended by 50,000 people, reportedly involved gold-plated invitations sent to guests and performances by Bollywood stars.

Many have criticised the cost and timing of the event, which began on November 12, as millions queued up outside banks across the country following Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s crackdown on ‘black money’.

Modi has just announced the demonetizing of the country’s highest-denomination bills, sparking bedlam outside banks.

State health minister, KR Ramesh Kumar, criticised the ceremony, calling it “a sheer obscene display of wealth”.

“I will not attend this marriage,” he said before the wedding. “I will not attend such marriages if any of my relatives or friends indulge in displaying such wealth.”

The cost of the wedding has also sparked anger on social media, with one posting: “Janardhana Reddy didn’t have to stand in line to draw money for his daughter’s wedding.”

Another wrote: “While the common man is standing in day-long lines to get currency changed Janardhana Reddy is spending large on [a] wedding.”

India announced a week ago that it was withdrawing 500 and 1,000 rupee notes as legal tender to fight corruption and tax evasion, AP reports.

Banks have been left overwhelmed as people attempt to change old currency notes that are now worthless.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said there is “chaos everywhere” due to the cash shortage; however Modi has vowed to continue his war against corruption and tax defaulters.

“If unaccounted money is found out during the current clean up drive, accounts of tax evaders dating back to the country’s independence in 1947 will be checked. If required I will hire people for this task,” he said. (The Telegraph)

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