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Deserted wife fasts and prays for Modi to become PM

April 11, 2014 18:20 IST

She has inadvertently been drawn in the political slugfest by Narendra Modi's rivals to target him, but decades of separation from Gujarat chief minister has not embittered Jashodaben, who fasts and prays for her husband to become the prime minister.

The reclusive 62-year-old retired school teacher has vowed not to eat rice and remain bare-footed until she has seen her husband ensconced in the prime minister's chair, says Jashodaben's brother Kamlesh.

"Jashodaben wishes from her heart that from being a chief minister, he (Modi) rises to become the prime minister of the country. She prays for that," he said.

Jashodaben, has now proceeded on a 'char dhaam yatra' to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri for fulfilment of the wish.

Living in a small village Ishwarwada in Mehasana district of North Gujarat with her two brothers, Jashodaben, according to her family, is a devout person and leads a simple life.

"She wakes up early in the morning, prays and visits temple....after that she is busy with her daily routine. She also watches news and reads all newspaper reports about him," Kamlesh said.

"Also, if someone speaks ill of him (Modi), she does not tolerate it. Otherwise, she is very mild-natured and never raises her voice against anybody," he said.

Eldest of our four siblings, Jashodaben got married to Modi in 1968 aged barely 17 years.

In an interview published in a Gujarati weekly magazine, Jashodaben had said their stay together was very brief.

Modi, who soon after their marriage left his home to become a RSS pracharak, had inspired her to study further after which she pursued her Primary Teachers Training course and got a job.

Modi's elder brother Somabhai on Thursday said the BJP leader's marriage to Jashodaben had "turned out" to be a "social formality".

"Our parents had not studied much and we were a poor family. To them, Narendra was like any other child. In such context, our parents conducted his marriage at a tender age with Jashodaben, but it turned out to be just a social formality for the sake of it," Somabhai had said.

The BJP's prime ministerial contender is in the line of fire from his adversaries, including Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi after he admitted, for the first time on Wednesday, to being a married man.

In an affidavit submitted along with his nomination papers for the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat, the 63-year-old Gujarat chief minister stated he was married to Jashodaben.

Hitherto, Modi used to leave blank the column meant for the mention of spouse's name.

This drew accusations from his rivals that he had submitted "wrong" and "false" affidavits in the past while contesting elections.

Rahul Gandhi too raked up the issue of Modi's marriage to attack BJP, saying while the party made claims of ensuring safety of women, it took several elections for its prime ministerial candidate to mention the name of his wife in the poll affidavit.

"Don't know how many elections he has contested till now, but he has revealed for the first time that he is married. In Delhi, he talks about honour of women, but his own wife's name doesn't reach the affidavit," Rahul said while addressing a gathering at Doda in Jammu and Kashmir.

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