An election is a battle, for the candidate, as well as their entire family. 4,000 ‘daughters and sons-in-law’ are campaigning for Subhash Deshmukh, a former MP, who is now contesting the state assembly elections from the Solapur-South constituency.
Every November, he holds community marriages for economically and socially backwards sections girls, to ensure that their families do not have to enter crippling debts or sell their farmland to pay for wedding expenses. He also provides basic amenities to the newly-weds in the form of clothes, utensils and necessary infrastructure for them. And, most importantly, he presents them with R5000 if they are blessed with a baby girl. This amount matures once the girl reaches 18 years of age.
Deshmukh said that, “Arranging a marriage is a matter of pride for any father. I have often witnessed that a majority of farmers sell their land or approach moneylenders for this. To break this vicious cycle, we embarked on this mission, and, so far, have conducted weddings of 2,000 girls in the past seven years”.