They may not have shared the same roof over their heads for decades now, but even as Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi prepares to move to Delhi from Gujarat, his wife Jashodaben could find herself under the same security cover as her husband.
According to SPG rules, the 62-year-old Jashodaben is 100 per cent entitled to elite Special Protection Group (SPG) cover and the force will have to provide security to her as Modi is set to take over as the Prime Minister, said a former senior IPS officer.
Former Secretary (Security) and ex-Director General of Police of Madhya Pradesh, Subhash Chandra Tripathi, said that the SPG Act clearly states it will have to provide security to the immediate family members of the Prime Minister.
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The rule thus applies to Jashodaben as well, irrespective of the status of the ties between herself and her husband, he pointed out.
Tripathi had served as the Secretary of Security during the tenure of former Prime Minister IK Gujral.
Jashodaben lives with her two brothers in a small village called Ishwarwada in Mehasana district of north Gujarat.
The SPG Act, which was enacted in 1988 and amended in 1991, 1994 and 1999, provides for ‘Proximate Security’ to the Prime Minister and the members of his immediate family.
Any former prime ministers or members of their immediate families are also entitled to SPG security for a period of 10 years from the date on which they cease to hold office.
Those in the establishment said that a protectee may refuse security cover, but only if there was no threat perception against him or her. It was pointed out that security may be mandatorily provided in case of the slightest apprehension over the safety of a protectee.
Modi had for the first time acknowledged Jashodaben as his wife while filing his nomination papers for the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat.
Modi and Jashodaben were married in 1968 when they had been teenagers.
According to media reports, when they first met, Modi had spoken to her about his dream of serving the country and also advised her to pursue her studies. Jashodaben retired as a school teacher and now leads a quiet life.