Faizabad: Elections are a bad time to get married as one politician in Uttar Pradesh found out to his dismay. With the Election Commission watching he has had to cut his big fat wedding to size.
Pawan Pandey, the Samajwadi Party candidate from Faizabad, has been forced to trim his guest list from 30,000 to 100 after the Election Commission cracked the whip to ensure weddings and public functions aren't used to distribute money and lure voters.
Pandey was planning a gala ceremony for his wedding on January 18. However, the Election Commission warned him that all his wedding expenses will be considered as part of his election expenditure.
"I don't want any confrontation with the Election Commission and also with my in-laws, as this election and marriage both are important to me. So I will fight election and also get married. I will file my nomination papers on 18th afternoon and will get married on same day in evening," Pandey says.
He adds that the Election Commission is being unfair since his wedding on January 18 had been fixed six months ago.
"A wedding is an auspicious occasion and mine was fixed much before the election dates were announced. But now I have been told all wedding expenses will be considered part of my election expenses," he says.
Pandey has been told that the moment he crosses the Rs 16 lakh figure, he can expect a wedding gift from the Election Commission in the form of a notice, with the result that the groom has been forced to cut his guest list down from 30,000 to a mere 100.
"All of Faizabad is my family. And if I can't invite everyone for my wedding, the occasion will be incomplete and if for a family function I can't invite them all, my wedding will be incomplete," he adds.
Under the model code of conduct, all wedding and community halls have been put under watch as they could be used to distribute gifts and bribes to voters. Such is the fear of inviting the wrath of the EC that most parties have asked candidates to stay away from all things matrimonial this season.
Fortunately for Pandey, a groom can't stay away from his own wedding.