Jashodaben, the 62-year-old wife of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, is currently on “pilgrimage”, praying for her husband’s success in the Lok Sabha elections, according to family members.
Ashok Modi, Jashodaben’s brother who lives in Unjha, described as “baseless” the description of his sister’s marriage with Modi — provided by the chief minister’s elder brother Somabhai Modi on Thursday — as “child marriage”.
“Even if he (Somabhai) is claiming that it was a child marriage, it means he is admitting that there indeed was a marriage between my sister and Modi. However, it is baseless that it was a child marriage as my sister Jashodaben was 17 years old at the time of the wedding. Our family has never lied about this union, and whatever information has been provided by Jashodaben is genuine,” Ashok Modi said.
Asked where Jashodaben was, Ashok said, “My sister has gone on a spiritual tour with a family friend. She has already visited Ambaji, but she did not wish to return home and has decided to extend her tour and is currently in Ganganagar. She is constantly in touch with us.”
Sources close Jashodaben said she is known to be deeply religious, and has taken a “religious vow” to pray for Modi’s success in his mission to become prime minister. She is currently on pilgrimage to Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram, the sources said.
Narendra Modi’s younger brother Prahlad said, “I was too young at that time to remember details about my brother’s marriage. I don’t recall seeing Jashodaben in my house. However, if my elder brother Somabhai is saying so, then it must be true.”
In his statement issued Thursday, Somabhai explained the circumstances of the BJP leader’s wedding to Jashodaben and said that “this marriage, in his (Narendra Modi’s) childhood, to Jashodaben Chimanbhai Modi, was a formal ritual because Narendrabhai had already left home then”.
Modi forgot marital vows, how can he fulfil promises to nation: Congress
Vadodara: The Congress on Thursday said the fact that Narendra Modi took so long to acknowledge his wife showed his trait of “lying” and “misleading” people.
“It is very unfortunate… After 46 years of being married, (Modi) acknowledged his marital status and publicly declared his wife Jashodaben’s name. He has fought four elections earlier, but always left the column for marital status blank,” Congress spokesperson Shobha Ojha said.
“When he could not be a good husband, how can he be a good administrator?” Ojha said.
Ojha said Modi had misled both the Election Commission and the people by repeatedly claiming he had no family. He had deprived his wife of her “social and legal” rights, the spokesperson said.
“He didn’t keep his wife with him nor did he divorce her. How will he fulfil promises made to the country if he couldn’t fulfil the promises he made to his wife… How can a person who can’t do justice to his own wife respect women in this country and provide safety to them… Isn’t this a case of atrocities on a woman?,” Ojha said, adding that Jashodaben had been forced to lead a life of “hardships”.
Madhusudan Mistry, Congress candidate from Vadodara, objected to the fact that Modi had mentioned his wife’s name in his affidavit but had not provided details of her assets. “Narendra Modi has not shown any legal separation from his wife and so he cannot get away by saying that he does not know if she has a PAN card or properties and a bank balance,” Mistry told reporters in Vadodara.
Mistry said the Election Commission should take note of the fact that his previous affidavit did not mention his wife, and should “cancel his nomination and punish him for filing a false affidavit”.