The law is an ass, or maybe the law is only in the book. Even though dowry prohibition act is decades old, the law book is not to be opened and eyes are to be kept shut when a minister openly distributes dowry and even names it ‘Dahej Vitran Kendra’ (Dowry distribution centre)
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By Our Staff Reporter
Sagar, June 2:
Madhya Pradesh Panchayats and Rural Development Minister Gopal Bhargav is again embroiled in controversy for spending crores while simultaneously solemnising the wedding of more than 1,000 women under the Mukhya Mantri Kanyadan Yojana.
Gifts worth crores, collected from government and other sources, were distributed on Monday when the mass marriage took place at the Minister’s native place Garhakota. Mr Bhargav represents Rehli and one of the conditions imposed was that at least one member of each couple must hail from there.
Entire Garhakota wore a festive look as brides, grooms, wedding parties, hoardings and posters were observed everywhere. Large-scale arrangements were made for boarding and lodging.
The Minister and his wife Rekha ceremoniously washed the brides’ feet while their son Abhishek was in charge of gifts’ distribution.
It was announced that gifts of Rs 51,000 would be presented to each couple and this figure was mentioned even in the government press note that followed the event while the ceiling is Rs 10,000 each.
”This is the eighth such wedding I have organised,” said Mr Bhargav who has so far united 7,000 couples in his constituency. A ‘Dahej Vitran Kendra’ (Dowry Distribution Centre) was set up for distributing gifts that had the Minister’s name printed on them and the wall clock had his photograph. Gifts included television sets, fans, compact disc players, chairs, cots, gold and silver jewellery, liquefied petroleum gas cylinders, watches, mattresses, sheets and copies of the ‘Ramcharitmanas’.
The couples included those from various castes, 26 Muslim pairs and 19 differently-able couples. As many as 250 priests were called and each given Rs 500, a shawl and coconut. Barbers, washer men and cobblers also offered services while a beauty parlour was set up to deck brides. Firecrackers and band music added to the charm.