If the Shiv Sena does it, can the Bharatiya Janata Party be far behind?
Call it competition between them or their like-mindedness, but ruling partners Shiv Sena and BJP are doing something really meaningful, other than giving water by train, for the drought-affected people. The BJP plans to make its event bigger than its partner.
Both parties together would have some 800 couples from various religions wedded at mass marriage ceremonies at two places in Marathwada separated by 60 kms by Sunday evening.
Couples get married at a mass marriage ceremony held by the Sena at Aurangabad on Saturday. BJP's event will be held on Sunday at Jalana
The Sena’s ceremony for 244 couples was held Saturday afternoon at Aurangabad in the presence of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Governor Ch Vidyashekhar Rao. The BJP will host over 1 lkh guests attending the wedding of 527 couples at Jalana. CM Devendra Fadnavis, state BJP president Raosaheb Danve (Jalana is his Lok Sabha constituency) and many other senior party leaders and ministers.
In February this year, the Sena had organised a mass marriage ceremony for over 331 couples, who belonged to the weaker sections, including from the families of affected farmers, at Parbhani in Marathwada region of Maharashtra under the ‘Shiv Sena Pramukh Balasaheb Thackeray Kanyadan Yojna’. The event in Aurangabad is part of the same scheme. The Sena provided mangalsutra to brides and clothes to grooms and served lunch to thousands of guests.
“Today's mass marriage included Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim couples from drought-affected families,” twitted Aaditya Thackeray, Sena’s youth president.
BJP's grand show
The party has planned to make it bigger than the Sena’s do. The ground near local agricultural produce marketing committee has been converted into a venue for hosting over one lakh guests, said party state spokesperson Keshav Upadhye. He said the event would primarily benefit distressed families which did not have finances to get their wards married. “Couples from all religions will be there and they will be married as per their respective religious ceremonies,” he said.
According to organizers, 700 applications were received of which 527 were selected on parameters like legal age for marriage. Most of couples were engaged through mutual understanding between their families, but they had decided to postpone wedding in view of economic distress caused by drought.
Couples from five district of Marathwada will take part, of which 14 are Muslims, 94 Buddhist, 14 Christians and 406 Hindu. The BJP will offer bride a shalu (ceremonial Maharashtrian saree), new chappals and other wedding accessories. The grooms will get safari suits. The couples will be provided make-up rooms. The couples will be gifted a kit which will have domestic utensils.
Before the customary weddings are conducted, the guests will be served sumptuous lunch between 12 to 2 pm.
Band, baja, baarat
The lunch will follow the custom that every bride and groom yearn for. The couples will be taken out in a grand baarat through Jalana’s dusty streets. The band baja will be in place to make the procession memorable. Each couple will beat a scorching heat by travelling in independent autorickshaw even as their families and friends shake a leg to popular Bollywood numbers.
The nuptials will start with nikah of Muslim couples. Then the Buddhist couples will marry. The Christians will say ‘we do’, followed by Hindu couples who will begin their journey together over ‘mangalashtakas’.