In Madha, single men want LS candidates to play matchmaker - Hindustan Times
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In Madha, single men want LS candidates to play matchmaker

Apr 14, 2024 07:14 AM IST

The demand of the voters in Madha is not surprising. A large part of the constituency falls under Solapur district, where the child sex ratio is among the lowest in the state; according to the 2011 census, 883 girls were born in the district per 1,000 boys

As political heat intensifies across the state on account of the ensuing Lok Sabha election, issues such as drought, unemployment and corruption are gaining prominence. But in Madha, a drought-prone parliamentary constituency straddling the Solapur and Satara districts in western Maharashtra, voters, especially single men, have a rather unique demand of candidates in the fray – they want their help in finding suitable matches and getting married.

Around 50 bachelors had organised a ‘Bride March’ to Solapur collector’s office in 2022. (HT PHOTO)
Around 50 bachelors had organised a ‘Bride March’ to Solapur collector’s office in 2022. (HT PHOTO)

Responding to the voters’ appeal, Ramesh Baraskar, the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) candidate from Madha has assured that if elected, he would launch a drive to arrange marriages of unmarried youth in rural areas. Madha goes to polls on May 7, when Baraskar will lock horns with Ranjeetsinh Nimbalkar from the BJP and Dhairyasheel Mohite Patil, who will join the NCP(SP) on Sunday.

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The demand of the voters in Madha is not surprising. A large part of the constituency falls under Solapur district, where the child sex ratio is among the lowest in the state; according to the 2011 census, 883 girls were born in the district per 1,000 boys. Consequently, many young men from the district and neighbouring areas have faced multiple rejections from potential brides across the state.

“I will turn 40 in another four years, but I have still not managed to find a bride,” said a farmer from Kamati village under the Madha constituency, adding that he had been rejected by 75 girls till date, and requesting anonymity on account of his “embarrassing situation”. Although a graduate, he was entirely dependent on income from agriculture, which was falling rapidly, he said.

“Most girls want their life partner to be well-settled before marriage itself and their parents too approve of this demand even though their own sons are unemployed. If every girl wants a government employee or IT engineer, who will marry us,” he wondered.

Several other bachelors HT spoke to echoed the farmer, saying girls were only interested in marrying government servants or employees of big companies in Pune and Mumbai who had a fixed income and an apartment of their own.

Recognising this preference, some families with unmarried men are selling off their agricultural land in the village to buy apartments on the outskirts of big cities. Many young men too are moving to big cities in the hope of finding brides more easily.

For instance, Rohan Chavan, 34, an unmarried man from Uplai Budruk village, moved to Pune this January hoping he could get married soon.

“The situation of rural youth in our region is pathetic. No one is ready to marry youth from the villages. So my parents asked me to relocate to Pune. My father also decided to sell some land and purchase a flat on the outskirts of Pune, so parents agree to give their daughter to me in marriage,” said Chavan.

Vilas Bet, former head of the Sociology department at Walchand College in Solapur, agreed that young men not finding brides was a major problem in rural areas of the state.

“Earlier it was observed that girls from these parts who migrated to cities like Pune and Mumbai after their studies were not ready to choose grooms from rural parts. Now, even girls and parents living in rural areas are choosing young men living in cities for marriage,” said the retired professor. He said the difference in standards of living in rural and urban areas was to blame for the situation.

Baraskar, the VBA candidate from Madha, said more than 25,000 young men from the constituency were struggling to find brides as young women and their parents were inclined towards government employees or those with fixed income.

“This is key reason why the number of unmarried young men from agrarian background are increasing,” he said.

Although Baraskar’s poll plank has attracted many youth, other candidates are not paying much attention to the issue. For Nimbalkar, the sitting MP who has been renominated by BJP, issues such as irrigation, employment, and farm income are key. He is also banking on various development projects he initiated during his term.

“I am going into this election with various developmental projects I have brought here as well as the issues of irrigation, employment, and increased farm income,” he said.

Solapur collector Kumar Ashirwad said though the unequal sex ratio, which contributed to the marriage problem, was a big concern, the situation had improved in recent years courtesy interventions by the women and child development department of the zilla parishad.

“In 2023-24, a total 1,33,347 male babies were born against 1,23,198 female babies. So the sex ratio at birth and child sex ratio was 911 and 924, respectively.

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