With the first day of the wedding season beginning on Wednesday, the ministers of the Delhi government hopped from one venue to the other all over the city. Official work took a backseat as the six Cabinet ministers and the chief minister ensured that they visited as many places as possible in the election year.
“This is a social compulsion and we have to attend the weddings,” Finance and Power Minister AK Walia told Hindustan Times.
Walia had 23 invitations of weddings in his daily engagement column. Asked how could he possibly make it to the 23 places, the minister said that seven of the weddings were in his Geeta Colony Assembly segment. “The first priority would be to attend all the ceremonies in the constituency, then comes invitations from friends and finally those from others,” he said. The minister said he had to “prioritise” where he would go and it would take a few minutes to do this.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was slated to go to eight weddings, all of them at 8.30 pm. A close aide said the chief minister would go to at least four of them, particularly those that are being held in close vicinity. “She cannot afford to miss many of them, as people whose invitations have been accepted eagerly wait for her and even publicise that the Delhi CM is coming at the wedding,” said the aide.
The other five ministers too have invitations ranging from eight to 12 on the inaugural day of the wedding season. Public Works Development and Urban Development Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan was supposed to go to nine different weddings. He, however, left for Jaipur in the afternoon and could not make it to any.
Health and Social Welfare Minister Yoganand Shastri, however, is very punctual. “If someone invites me, I make it a point to attend the ceremony,” Shastri told Hindustan Times before leaving for the first such ceremony in outer Delhi. He had to go to 11 different venues. “It will perhaps be 12 midnight when I reach home,” he said. Asked if he would eat at 11 different venues, Shastri said he just gives the shagun (blessings and money) and meets the relatives and does not eat at the wedding functions. “How can a person eat at 11 places?” asked the minister.