On one of Narendras Modis biggest days,his family with whom he lived until he was 16 years old chose to not react at all.
Asked about the elevation of the Gujarat chief minister to the BJPs candidate for prime minister,70-year-old Somabhai Modi,the eldest of Modis five siblings,said cryptically,If I had anything to say,and if my reaction had any value,I would not have been living in this ashram. We have nothing to say and there is no reaction from our side.
Somabhai,who retired as a Public Health Department inspector in Mehsana,now runs an old age home in the familys native village Vadnagar,and stays in a room in the staff quarters on the premises.
Pressed for a more detailed response,he said,If it is something good for the brother,it is certainly good for the family as well,and we would be happy.
The 63-year-old Gujarat chief minister has been publicly seen only with his 94-year-old mother Hira ba,his pictures with whom he posted after his victory in the December 2012 assembly elections. She does not live with him.
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In an interview given to The Indian Express in November 2012,Somabhai had said that the family had had no communication from Modi since he left their home in 1967. He is invited to all family functions,but never turns up,Somabhai had said. The last time I met him was during a public event two months back, Somabhai said.
The youngest of Modis four brothers,Pankaj,52,also declined to comment on Modis elevation. I have no comments, he said.
Pankaj Modi works in the information department in Gandhinagar. Their mother,Hira ba,lives with him.
Prahlad,58,the brother immediately older to Pankaj,lives in Ahmedabad,and is the president of the Fair Price Shop Dealers Association.
Reached a few hours before the official announcement in New Delhi,Prahlad Modi said,I cant speak on this development. Nothing is clear and there are differences within the BJP. I will be able to say anything only after the dust has settled. Besides,I need to ask bhaisaheb (Narendra Modi),who has told me not to speak at this stage.
Amrutbhai,68,who is second to Somabhai,lives in Ahmedabads Ranip area,at the address officially listed as Narendra Modis in the electoral rolls. Amrutbhai retired as a worker in Anil Starch Mill in Ahmedabads Naroda area four years ago.
Modi is the third of the siblings,elder to Prahlad and Pankaj. The five brothers have a sister,Basantiben (55),who teaches in a government school in Visnagar,about 12 km from Vadnagar.