TIME India

An Indian Election Candidate Will Pay for 2,100 Weddings to Win Votes

Getty Images Voters in the constituency of Tonk-Sawai Madhopur in India's Rajasthan state can get a free wedding by voting for a local independent candidate

Makhan Lal Meena, an independent parliamentary candidate in northwestern India’s Rajasthan state, has agreed to fund 2,100 weddings as a way of persuading people to vote for him

Makhan Lal Meena, an independent candidate in northwestern India’s Rajasthan state, has employed a novel tactic in his bid to become MP for the constituency of Tonk-Sawai Madhopur.

Realizing that his Congress Party and BJP rivals — a former India cricket captain and billionaire respectively — were way ahead in the polls, and that the parties shared 93.7% of votes last time round, Meena has agreed to fund 2,100 weddings to help curry favor with his prospective constituents. To avoid allegations of vote-buying, the ceremonies will be take place a long time after polling has closed.

“I am a son of the soil, born and brought up here and have been engaged in such activities for many years,” he recently told the Times of India by phone.

India’s ongoing general elections are being conducted in nine stages over six weeks during which more than 814 million people are eligible to cast ballots.

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