Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lavish Wedding of Indian Politician

A leading Indian politician has come under fire after splashing out 14m on a lavish wedding for his son.

Kanwar Singh Tanwar staged what is believed to be the most expensive wedding in recent history for his son Lalit Tanwar and bride Yogita Jaunapuria.

A 4m helicopter was among the presents from the 18,000 guests invited to the ostentatious replica Rajastani palace.

But Mr Tanwar has been criticised for staging the grand ceremony at a time when India leaders have urged senior figure to rein in their displays of wealth.

A series of corruption scandals involving senior figures have engulfed the country in the past year.

And the grand display of wealth is at odds with the 280m annual aid that Britain has agreed to continue funnelling to the country.

But none of that stopped Mr Tanwar when the threw the staggering bash in Delhi earlier this week.

The bride's family is understood to have given the groom a Bell 429 helicopter as a wedding gift. But because it could not be flown to the party they presented the groom with a silver model instead.

More than 18,000 guests watched as the groom arrived in a top-of-the-range BMW. The arrival was broadcast on giant screens as guests waited inside the enormous tent.

Gifts for the guests included up to 30 each in cash, a shawl for the women and a suit for the men, and a silver coin commemorating the occasion.

Even the barber went home much happier having received an impressive 2,000 in tips alone.

The luxury menu for the event is said to have included Thai, Italian Chinese and Indian delicacies which were served by up to 1,000 staff.

Mr Tanwar's secretary said that the wedding had cost 'many crores' but the full cost will not be known until all the bills are received.

'Yes it's true, but how much is the total cost, that's the million dollar question. It is many crores but total expenditure will only be known when the wedding (celebrations) have ended, he told the Daily Telegraph.

In Indian currency, a crores is worth around 136,000.

The lavish wedding comes despite pleas from Mr Tanwar's party leader, Sonia Gandhi, for her members to be more modest with their shows of wealth and identify with 'the common man'.

And the event does not reflect well on a country that has been mired by a series of corruption scandals involving government leaders, corporate figures and media leaders in the past year,

Despite the scandals and the plight of India's poverty stricken masses, it is estimated to be the world's fastest growing economy this year, surpassing even China.

And the lavish wedding will be seized upon by those unhappy with the 280m in annual aid that Britain funnels to the country.

Indian press go crazy for mega-bucks wedding......

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The groom wore a garland made of bank notes and received a helicopter as a gift, there were 18,000 guests -- or perhaps it was 30,000 -- and 1,000 workers took 40 days to prepare the venue.

The exact details have been fiercely disputed, but Thursday's newspapers in New Delhi were all in agreement that this had been one very big, very fat Indian wedding.

Lalit Tanwar married his bride Yogita Jaunapuria at a family farmhouse near the city in a ceremony Tuesday celebrated with 100 dishes, 12 giant TV screens to broadcast proceedings, and even a gift of $5,500 for the groom's barber.

The Times of India calculated the cost of the extravaganza uniting two influential political families at one billion rupees ($22 million), while the Mail Today went for the less conservative figure of $55 million.

"I don't understand why there is so much hoopla about this marriage," the groom's father, Kanwar Singh Tanwar, told the Times. "All estimates of this marriage in the media are speculation."

In the Indian Express, he was quoted as saying: "True, a Bell 429 helicopter was given but it was a simple wedding."

Kanwar Tanwar is a hugely wealthy city politician from the ruling Congress party, while the bride's father is a former politician in the capital -- making the arranged marriage a perfect power deal.

The media recorded each lavish detail with a mixture of shock and delight.

The Hindustan Times reported that at a pre-wedding ceremony last week 2,000 guests were each given a silver biscuit, a safari suit and $500 in cash, while at a different ritual the bride's family welcomed the groom with gifts worth $5 million.

The newly-weds, both 26, were heralded on Tuesday night by flowers and lights bedecking three kilometres (two miles) of roads leading to the function, where no meat or alcohol were served in line with Hindu tradition.

However the groom's new $8 million five-seater helicopter could not be present due to flight regulations, and instead he was given its keys and a small silver replica.

Celebrations are set to continue with another reception on Thursday and a final gathering on Sunday at a five-star hotel attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Bollywood stars such as Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai.