Political leaders cutting across party lines have attended the wedding of mining baron G Janardhan Reddy’s daughter. The event has raised eyebrows in Karnataka over its extravaganza and pomp.
Curtains came down on Wednesday on the five-day show that featured ceremonies in lavish settings, even as the opulent display sparked a controversy at a time people across the country are reeling due to cash crunch after demonetisation of high-value currencies.
There was a lot of speculation in the Kannada media about who would attend, especially because Reddy is still fighting the charges of illegally mining iron ore in Bellary district.
But the sevent seemed to be a big hit. Prominent among the visitors were state BJP chief and former chief minister and BS Yeddyurappa, Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala, Congress leader and state home minister G Parameshwara, and ministers UT Khader and HK Patil.
Also present were south Indian cinema stars such as Kannada film actors Ravichandran and Puneeth Rajkumar, and Tamil film star Vishal.
Huge sets were erected at the Bengaluru Palace grounds, which attempted to recreate the temple and palace of the 16th century king Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara kingdom.
On either side of the entrance to the main wedding hall were two robotic elephants that caught the fancy of many visitors. The main hall was packed with people. A barricade separated the commoners from the VIPs and a giant screen made sure everybody could see the wedding.
An announcer kept the public informed about the arriving VIPs.
A policeman, one of only 12 deputed for the event, said there were about 10,000 people at the venue. Security, however, was provided by around 3,000 private security personnel, who were preoccupied with ensuring that no member of the public captured photographs of the event.
Hanumanthappa, a farmer from Ballary district, made the journey to Bengaluru just to witness the gala show. He said: “How could we miss this? He’s from our area so we had to come.”
Rakesh Kumar, who had made the journey from Bellary by bus, said many people had come to the wedding because “Reddy is our leader”.
After his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation in 2011 on graft charges, Reddy had spent about 40 months in jail. Political parties and their leaders had been wary of associating with him during that time.
When asked about his attendance at the wedding, Khader, state minister for food and public distribution, said, “It is just a wedding. Attending this does not mean anything.”
The event was capped off with a rendition of the popular Kannada song “Huttidare Kannada Nadalli Huttabeku” (If you are born, it is better to be born in the land of Kannada), an apparent reminder of Reddy’s loyalty to the state. His father hailed from Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh that borders Bellary.