Indian tycoon splashes Sh7 billion on daughter’s wedding
The lavish wedding of the daughter of an Indian politician has sparked outrage as millions across the country are in the midst of a cashflow crisis.
The five-day wedding of businessman and ex-state minister G Janardhana Reddy’s daughter, Brahmani, is estimated to cost about Sh7.4 billion (5bn rupees; $74 million).
But with gold-plated invitations and Bollywood stars expected to perform, the nuptials have proved controversial.
Critics have described it as an “obscene display of wealth”.
The wedding kicked off just days after the Indian government announced it would scrap 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in a crackdown on undeclared wealth, making redundant the vast majority of cash that Indians use daily.
Millions of Indians have been standing in queues in an effort to deposit or exchange the old currency and frustration is widespread.
Weddings in India are no exception to the largely cash-based economy and many payments for weddings are made in cash.
Mr Reddy was quoted as saying that he had mortgaged properties in Bangalore and Singapore to raise money for the wedding and that all payments were made six months ago when the planning started.
It hasn’t stopped Indians taking to social media to ridicule the wedding. His political opponents, meanwhile, have used it to speculate if the prime minister’s drive against illegal “black money” would include elites.
A former member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka state, Mr Reddy recently spent three years in jail on corruption charges, which he denies, and was freed on bail last year.
Preparations at the Bangalore Palace, the sprawling venue, began months in advance and reports said eight Bollywood directors were called on to create sets resembling ancient Hindu temples where the ceremonies would be conducted.