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Anant Ambani’s pre-wedding bash in Gujarat is boosting a Modi campaign; here’s how

The PM has made a ‘Wed in India’ push, saying if Indians hold their marriages in their own country and among its people, its money will remain at home.

Reliance Foundation director Anant Ambani (in red) with his fiancee Radhika Merchant distribute traditional Gujarati food to villagers during Anna Seva as part of their pre-wedding function in Jamnagar in the western Indian state of Gujarat on February 28, 2024. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

MUKESH AMBANI’s youngest child Anant Ambani is all set to get married to Radhika Merchant, a businesswoman and daughter of Indian pharmaceutical tycoons Viren and Shaila Merchant. While the high-profile wedding will take place in July, a lavish pre-marriage celebration is currently underway in Jamnagar, a city in the western state of Gujarat.

The occasion has seen a galaxy of celebrities — both from India and abroad — assembling. From the world of business to films to sports, the list of esteemed guests is not too short for the three-day event in the city in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region.

Like his two other elder siblings Akash Ambani and Isha Ambani, the 28-year-old Anant has chosen an Indian destination for the pre-wedding celebrations and this decision is in sync with many wealthy Indians’ choice for Indian venues to stage the special days of their lives.

Read: Mark Zuckerberg reaches Gujarat for Anant Ambani’s pre-wedding celebrations

Anant, who is a director at Reliance’s new energy business and the Reliance Foundation, told India Today TV the reason for picking Jamnagar as the venue for holding his pre-wedding bash and there are actually two reasons. While he has a special connection with Jamnagar where he grew up and has ancestral connections, the other is prime minister Narendra Modi’s call to hold weddings in India.

Read: From guestlist to 2500 dishes, everything we know about Anant Ambani-Radhika Merchant’s pre-wedding preps

Modi had said in one of the episodes of his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ (Words of Soul) that it was painful for him to see families going abroad for weddings. Making a ‘Wed in India’ push, the prime minister said if Indians hold their marriages in their own country and among its people, its money will remain at home.

In December last year, Modi urged Indians to hold their marriages in India, specifically in the northern state of Uttarakhand, during a summit there.

His ‘Wed in India’ push is akin to his ‘Make in India’ initiative that aims to encourage manufacturing in India.

In India, weddings are lavish affairs and money spinners. With the rise in income, they have scaled up as people can afford to spend more.

The ongoing wedding season in India is likely to see more than four million marriages being held across the nation, and a business of about Rs 5.5 lakh crore (£52.4 billion) through purchases and services that are related to weddings, a survey by the Confederation of All India Traders said, India Today reported. The survey included traders who are into businesses related to weddings in 30 cities across India.

India’s capital Delhi itself will see more than 400,000 weddings during the peak season, generating business revenues worth nearly Rs 1.5 lakh crore (£14.3 billion), the CAIT’s national president, B C Bhartia, and secretary general, Praveen Khandelwal, told the news outlet.

During weddings, bookings of venues such as banquet halls, hotels, community centres, public parks boost business activities along with decorations, food, event management and buying of gift items.

The CAIT survey acknowledged the prime minister’s call for ‘Wed in India’ resulted in significant rise in the wedding-related businesses during the peak seasons.

Wedding seasons are considered an important contributor to the well-being of the Indian economy. In fact, the amount that Indians spend on weddings is more than the GDP of many countries.

In case of Anant Ambani’s pre-wedding bash, artiste Rihanna is reportedly being paid around $9 million for staging a performance.

The wedding industry also involves a range of sellers and traders from several sectors.

“Services like tent and flower decorations, crockery, catering services, travel services, cab services, professional welcome groups, vegetable vendors, photographers, videographers, bands, musicians, DJ services, horses for wedding processions, carriages, lighting, and numerous other services, all expected to thrive during this time,” Khandelwal was quoted as saying by India Today.

As India’s wedding sector becomes more thriving and the country being a home of a largely young population which means more and more weddings are due to come up, Modi’s ‘Wed in India’ push is a deliberate push towards strengthening the economy.

He has, after all, guaranteed the countrymen that India will become the world’s third-largest economy in his third term as his Bharatiya Janata Party has exuded confidence about winning the third straight term in office.

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