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Businessman funds lavish wedding for mantra

Author: Sharad Vyas
Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 15, 2013
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Businessman-funds-lavish-wedding-for-mantri/articleshow/18509567.cms

The NCP again finds itself at the centre of the irrigation controversy, this time over an admission by its own minister, Bhaskar Jadhav, that a leading dam contractor financed the lavish wedding of his son Samir and daughter Kanchan at Chiplun. The joint ceremony, which took place on Wednesday, was attended by political and business bigwigs, even leading to the rescheduling of the weekly cabinet meet to discuss important drought-related measures.

 Chiplun, in Ratnagiri district, was transformed into a mini-Disneyland, with helicopters hovering in the sky and swanky motorcades zipping through its narrow bylanes. Reports said 22 helipads were constructed to ferry guests to the 5 lakh-sq-ft pandal.

 The wedding pandal of minister Bhaskar Jadhav's children at Chiplun was built in the shape of a palace by a Mumbai-based set designer to accommodate over 80,000 guests. The banquet, comprising 60 culinary delicacies, was prepared by a team of 400 liveried khansamas from Aurangabad.

 Jadhav, minister of state for urban development and a leader from the coastal Konkan belt, is now at the receiving end of much flak from the Opposition as well as from his own party chief, Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. Jadhav told journalists that the expenses for the wedding were partly funded by Shah Constructions of Karad, whose owner is a contractor in the Koyna dam irrigation project. "In our 30 years of friendship, we have never even had tea together. But out of friendship, he financed the mandap and food expenses," Jadhav told mediapersons while apologizing for hurting the sentiments of his party supremo and the people of Maharashtra.

While the Opposition slammed the minister for taking financial assistance from an irrigation contractor, Pawar expressed his displeasure over the show of opulence at a time when the state is going through its worst drought crisis in the past decade. "If one saw this wedding extravaganza on television, one would not get sleep at night," a visibly upset Pawar told mediapersons on Thursday, adding that public figures who indulged in such an opulent display of wealth, especially when the drought situation was so severe, had no right to remain in politics. He added that when his daughter Supriya, now MP, got married, there was no lavish dinner for the 200,000 guests, who were given two pedhas each for their good wishes.
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