Jashodaben Chimanlal Modi, 62, wife of Narendra Modi, cast her vote in this small town in Mehsana district. After Modi had declared her his wife when he filed his nomination April 9 for Vadodara, her family was claiming she was on a yatra and would return only on May 17.
She turned up around 12.45 pm, clad in an orange and green saree, her ornaments including eight rings, a pair of gold bangles, silver toe rings and anklets. A black thread was around her neck, sindoor on her forehead. With her were her brother Ashok Modi and a number of BJP workers who ignored election guidelines and chanted “Vande Mataram”, “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkar”.
She did not look up as she walked into the booth in her black slippers. After voting, she greeted the media with hands folded and said, “Vande Mataram.” Her brother guided her into a BJP worker’s Swift Dzire, not the Innova, registered as a cab in Gandhinagar, in which neighbours had seen her in the morning.
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Corporator Dipak Oza and Arvindbhai Patel, BJP LS election convener for the city, said they had been sent to control the media before her arrival. “The family has been complaining to us about harassment for the past 10 days,” said Arvindbhai.
Ashok Modi said, “My sister is staying with a close family friend. Even I don’t know where that is. We have been advised by Somabhai Modi (Modi’s eldest brother) not to speak to the media. We will speak only after the results on May 16. It is my sister’s wish to give a treat to anyone who comes to greet us then.”
At the house, Ashok’s son Rakesh and daughter-in-law Daksha watched TV beaming news about polling. His wife Jayaben smiled as her husband takes calls from relatives telling him they saw him live on TV. “Jashodaben was with a relative in Ahmedabad for a few days. Later she went to stay with her sister Saroj in Vadnagar to attend a wedding. She returned just a few days ago,” said Jayaben.