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UP CM Yogi Adityanath[/caption]
The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is planning to organise mass weddings for poor girls belonging to religious minorities, in an apparent attempt by the Chief Minister to shed his Hindu hardliner image.
"Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has given his consent to mass weddings of poor girls belonging to minority communities and we have included it in the 100 days' programme of the state government," Minister of State for Minorities Affairs Mohsin Raza said.
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Muslims account for nearly 20 per cent of the state's population and a lion's share of the benefits under the scheme will go to brides from that community.
A proposal is being prepared, the minister said, adding besides extending monetary assistance of Rs 20,000 to each bride, the government will bear other expenses for the mass wedding.
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He said the idea of mass weddings for girls from minority communities, which would also include Sikhs and Christians, came from the chief minister himself.
Giving details of the scheme, Raza said it will be run with Central assistance for which 'sadbhavna mandaps' will be set up by the department of minorities welfare.
Around 100 weddings would be held in every district after selecting eligible candidates, he said.
Initially, it will be a pilot project, and if it receives a good response, the government plans to make it a bi-annual affair, he said.