The contrast could not be starker. Despite the enormous hardship of queuing up for hours to get some money from ATMs and banks, many people are supporting the government’s move to demonetise high-value currency. If it serves the greater good of cleaning up the system, people, at least many of them, seem willing to stay the difficult, for some perilous, course. In politics perception matters a great deal. So we have the prime minister wiping away his tears and speaking of his humble beginnings and his determination to wipe out black money. And we have the Opposition breathing fire and brimstone saying that the means don’t justify the ends, even though they are against black money.
Cut to the mega lavish wedding of mining baron G Janardhan Reddy’s daughter. It gave an altogether new meaning to extravagance and opulence. Spread over five days, the mining baron pulled out all the stops and then some to celebrate the wedding, some put the cost at ₹500 crore. The BJP had got off the mark when details of the wedding became public saying that not one of their lot would attend.
But such was the draw of the event that not just the BJP, but the Congress also could not keep away. The guests who turned up included the state BJP chief and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala, Congress leader and home minister G Parameshwara, and ministers UT Khader and HK Patil.
It is nobody’s case that a person does not have the right to celebrate his or her children’s weddings in an over-the-top manner as long as the resources used are legitimate. But at a time when people are suffering from the demonetisation drive, it seems particularly insensitive on the part of the political parties to be seen to endorse this.
It is no secret that millions are spent on weddings by the rich, but for politicians to be seen gracing these occasions at a time when the drive to clean up the system is underway seems insensitive and misplaced. There may be nothing illegal here but it gives the impression that politicians across the spectrum don’t quite practise what they preach.