What Social Distancing? HD Kumaraswamy's Son's Wedding Draws Scrutiny

Coronavirus Lockdown: The wedding ceremony involving two political families had no guests, claimed former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, the groom's father, but all traditions were followed

Nikhil Kumaraswamy Wedding: The photos showed no one in masks or gloves and no distancing.

Highlights

  • HD Deve Gowda's grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy married Revathi
  • A low-key ceremony marks celebrations between two political families
  • In Karnataka, people are fond of big weddings
Bengaluru:

A VIP wedding took place in Karnataka this morning amid the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, and photos showed no social distancing, masks or any other precaution in the rituals. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda's grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy married Revathi, the grandniece of a Congress leader and former minister, at a farmhouse about 28 km from state capital Bengaluru.

The wedding involving two political families had no one from outside the family, claimed former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy -- the groom's father -- but all traditions were followed. Over 100 were at the farmhouse in Ramanagara, where the bride and groom exchanged garlands. Priests were seen in the backdrop as family members including Deve Gowda, 86, blessed the couple.

Mr Kumaraswamy had claimed "only around 60 to 70 people of the family" would attend the wedding. According to the Karnataka police, passes for 42 vehicles and 120 people were given.

It was no big, fat wedding by any standards, it seemed in visuals from a drone, but everyone stood close together, ignoring current social distancing guidelines. There were multiple cameras.

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Nikhil, an actor-turned-politician, last came in the media glare when he contested the national election last year from his family stronghold Mandya and lost.

Despite the lockdown and virus warnings, Mr Kumaraswamy refused to defer the wedding. In a video on Thursday, the Janata Dal Secular leader said the event had been moved from Bengaluru, a "red zone" for COVID-19,  to Ramanagara, his assembly constituency, and asked his supporters to stay away. "I request my well-wishers with folded hands with pain and apologies. At a later date, when these problems are solved, we will have a big reception and invite you all," he said.

"It would be difficult to maintain social distancing if the event was organised at home. That's the reason we are organising the event at our farmhouse in Bidadi," Mr Kumaraswamy said, adding that the decision to go ahead with the wedding was taken in consultation with doctors, including those in his family.

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Revathi is the grand-niece of Congress leader and realtor M Krishnappa.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan has said action would be taken against the former chief minister "without a second thought" if guidelines were not followed in the wedding.

"If this is the way we are handling the issue, it will send a very wrong message. Whoever is the violator, definitely we will take action. I will speak to (the police, district collector). They should not allow this kind of violation. We need to take action otherwise it will be a mockery of the system," said Mr Narayan, pointing out that Mr Kumaraswamy had been in public life too long to act irresponsibly.

Karnataka has 315 coronavirus cases, including 13 deaths.