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High-flying politico flies from wedding to Vidhan Bhavan in 60 minutes

What would you do if fate conspired to make two of the most significant events in your life coincide on the same day, within hours of each other, but flung kilometres apart? While most would resign themselves to cancelling any one event, Muzaffar Hussain hired a chopper.

Muzaffar Hussain and his daughter's wedding
After juggling his daughter’s wedding with filing his nomination, Muzaffar Hussain (L) threw a grand reception party for the newly-married couple at Worli last evening. Pic/Shadab Khan

This enterprising Congress man managed to pull off his daughter’s wedding at Mira Road and his nomination for the post of MLC (Member of Legislative Council) at Vidhan Bhavan, all on the same day, thanks to his elaborate and expensive method of skirting city traffic.

After his candidature was announced at 6.30 pm on Sunday by the Congress high command in Delhi, it dawned on an exhilarated Hussain that the next day was going to be a nail-biting one. Hussain had been nominated for the seat vacated by Hussain Dalwai after he was elected to the Rajya Sabha last year.

Muzaffar Hussain and Ashok Chavan
Former chief minister Ashok Chavan (left) greets the couple during a reception in Worli yesterday. Muzaffar Hussain (second from left) looks on. Pic/Shadab Khan

Undaunted by the seeming impossibility of the task, Hussain rolled up his sleeves and made intensive, minute-by-minute plans for the following day. In order to pull off the rare feat of covering the 45 km separating Mira Road on the city’s northern fringes from Vidhan Bhavan at its southern tip in less than 45 minutes, he chartered a chopper ride.

Each minute counted while his daughter Aafreen’s wedding was to be solemnised at 11 am followed by the big fat wedding lunch, the deadline for filing nomination papers was a mere four hours later, at 3 pm.

No latecomers allowed
Hussain was glued to the phone till late on Sunday night, ringing members of the groom’s immediate family and kin, informing them about his candidature and requesting them to arrive at the wedding venue on time. Realising that it was as big a day for the father of the bride as it was for the bride, the guests cooperated. Everything went like clockwork, with guests and groom having reached the venue and ready for the nikaah by 10.30 am.

Muzaffar Hussain
11:00 am: Muzaffar Hussain requested the groom’s family not to be late. They arrived at 10.30 am and the wedding took place at 11 am sharp in Shams Masjid on Mira Road. Graphic/ Amit Bandre

The marriage was solemnised right on schedule at the stroke of 11 at Al-Shams Jama Masjid in Mira Road. But Hussain still had to pull off the wedding banquet. Not resting a moment, he personally requested all the invitees to have lunch at 12 pm, taking special pains to ensure that the groom’s family members were the first to eat.

Muzaffar Hussain
12:30 pm: After solemnising the wedding and ensuring that the groom’s family was seated for lunch, Hussain sped to a helipad in Bhayander for the chopper, which dropped him at Mahalaxmi Race Course 35 mins later

Going the distance
Having overseen the arrangements for their meal, he rushed to Subhaschandra Maidan in Bhayander (West), where his ride was waiting. The chopper landed at the Mahalaxmi Race Course in precisely 35 minutes, at 1.05 pm. Hussain drove straight to Vidhan Bhavan, where his papers were ready at his party office.

Muzaffar Hussain
1:05 pm: After being dropped off by the helicopter at the Race Course, Hussain sped to Vidhan Bhavan, where he met the chief minister and MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre, collected papers from his party office

After a quick meeting with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre, Hussain filed for nomination at 2 pm, a good hour before the deadline and then heaved a huge sigh of relief. Though Hussain had a wedding reception to manage, his party members asked him to stay put till 3 pm, in case of last minute problems.

Muzaffar Hussain
2 pm: With still an hour to go for the deadline, Hussain filed his nomination papers. At the CM’s request, Opposition parties didn’t field any other candidates, making Hussain the sole claimant to the MLC seat. Hussain left at 3 pm to prepare for his daughter’s reception

Lending a hand
Of course, it wasn’t just the chopper that sped things up for him. Opposition parties did their bit, refraining from fielding any of their own candidates for the vacated post, at Chavan’s request. In the absence of any other candidate for the bypoll, Hussain had nothing to worry about, and left Vidhan Bhavan a contented man, only to immerse himself in preparations for the wedding reception at a hall in Worli in the evening.

“I did not want to take risks of any sort and had to ensure that each and everything went off as planned and as per schedule,” Hussain told MiD DAY. He added that he had no inkling of his candidature till the announcement was made in Delhi announcing his nomination.

Timeline

11:00am
Muzaffar Hussain solemnises daughter’s wedding at Mira Road

12:30pm
After the wedding lunch, Hussain takes a chopper ride to Race Course, Mahalaxmi, and then drives to Vidhan Bhavan

2:00pm
With just an hour to go for the deadline, he files the MLC nomination papers at Vidhan Bhavan

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