Nitin Gadkari’s son’s four-day mega wedding bash begins

By Quaid Najmi, IANS
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NAGPUR - Bharatiya Janata Party chief Nitin Gadkari’s son Nikhil weds Rutuja, a Sanskrit Master’s student, at a four-day-long lavish wedding ceremony and the inaugural function begins here Wednesday.

The country’s who’s who, starting from the president, the prime minister, top politicians, central ministers, chief ministers, ministers, parliamentarians and legislators, besides Bollywood bigwigs and big businessmen, not to mention diplomats and foreign guests, comprise the list of invitees for the mega-wedding - billed as one of the most expensive in recent years.

Nikhil, 26, is marrying Rutuja, 22, daughter of Purushottam and Shubhangi Pathak, and the Orange City, which is the second capital of Maharashtra, is all decked up for the occasion - one of the biggest in the city.

The functions kick off Wednesday evening with the ‘Seemanti Pujan’, which is considered an occasion to introduce the two families and all their relations, according to a family source from the groom’s side.

The groom’s family will perform a puja of the prospective daughter-in-law and the bride’s family will also perform the puja of their prospective son-in-law, hug each other, exchange gifts and pleasantries.

Then both families will settle down to a sumptuous private dinner since outsiders are not included in this ritual being held at the Rajwada Palace, according to the family source.

Soon after the ‘Seemanti Pujan’, well-known Marathi singer Avdhut Gupte and his team will give a live musical performance at the venue.

Thursday will be the day of the main marriage nuptials - in which they will become man and wife before a holy fire. The ceremony will be witnessed by around 2,500 family members, friends and invitees.

While Nikhil may sport a traditional dhoti and kurta, Rutuja could wear a traditional Maharashtrian ‘nav-vari’ (nine-yard) sari.

The marriage ceremony will also be held at the prestigious Rajwada Palace near Gandhi Sagar Lake.

However, despite being fish and meat loving Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu Brahmin families, the marriage feast will be a purely vegetarian affair keeping in view the religious significance of the event, the family source added.

Incidentally, belying its name, Rajwada Palace is actually a major venue for such mega-weddings and corporate functions which came up a couple of years ago as big businesses started moving into the city in a big way.

The following day - Friday - the main marriage reception has been organised for all the VVIPs and dignitaries on the banquet lawns of the Vidarbha Cricket Association ground, at Jamtha, around 10 km on the city outskirts.

This would be attended by over 15,000 VVIPs and their families. Among the prominent ones who have been invited at the reception are President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, opposition leader Sushma Swaraj, BJP senior party leader L.K. Advani, several central cabinet ministers, MPs and MLAs.

Besides them, all BJP-state chief ministers, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and his cabinet colleagues, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, RSS top bosses, diplomats from New Delhi and Mumbai, foreign VVIPs, the Ambani brothers, Ratan Tata, the Birla family, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini and others are expected to grace the occasion.

Nitin and his wife Kanchan Gadkari have not forgotten the ordinary Nagpur citizens, party workers and commoners from the entire Vidarbha region.

On Saturday, a general reception will be held at the sprawling Reshimbag ground, in the old city quarters, which is a favourite hotspot for political rallies, exhibitions and major functions.

Over one lakh invitation cards have been sent out and it is expected that nearly three lakh people may attend this mammoth reception.

The entire catering for the four days is being handled by Darshan Vivek Pande (a distant relative of the Gadkaris) and Bandu Raut, who are famous for their mouth-watering culinary delights.

Though nobody is willing to go on the record, it is reliably learnt that the VVIPs at the Friday marriage reception will feast on a Rs.800 per plate dinner, while the Saturday reception will have a slightly economical - Rs. 400 per plate dinner.

The dinner will include choicest offerings from around the country to suit all tastes and palates, keeping in view the varied invitees, with a smattering of local Vidarbha and Maharashtrian specialities thrown in.

All the hotels, guest houses, hostels, lodges and other private residence have been booked for the four-day gala wedding, several scores of luxurious vehicles have also been hired to ferry the guests to and fro, and even some aircraft have been kept ready for the VVIPs.

Incidentally, last week, the Vidarbha Farm Widows Association demanded that they should also be invited for the lavish wedding ceremonies since they have been virtually starving for years and many farmers have been forced to commit suicide.

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