Despite being abandoned over 45 years ago by Narendra Modi, then a RSS pracharak and now BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Jashodaben still considers the former to be her husband and prays for his victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
According to Jashodaben's younger brother Ashok Modi, his sister has taken a vow not to wear footwear till Modi became the prime minister of the country. "My sister is a traditional and religious woman, who believes she has only one husband whom she worships as god," said Ashok over phone from Unjha town in North Gujarat, where he runs a small provision store. He was answering a query as to why did not his sister remarry after being deserted by the husband soon after the marriage.
Jashodaben, 62, is a retired government school teacher living in Vadnagar, Modi's home town. She lives with her elder brother in a small village called Brahmanvada.
"Jashodaben has been praying for the well-being and success of Modi. She has led a life of celibacy just like Modi, and has never demanded anything from him (Gujarat CM)," Ashok said. He also dismissed the claim of Modi's elder brother Somabhai that Jashodaben's marriage with Modi was a child marriage.
"What Somabhai is saying is a lie. It was not a child marriage. Jashodaben was 17 or 18 years old when she was married off to Modi who is only six months elder to her. She had studied till Class 7," he explained.
When asked where Jashodaben was, Ashok said she had gone for a pilgrimage across India to pray for Modi. He further said it was for Modi that his sister became a teacher. "If Modi had not abandoned her she would not have studied further and become a teacher," Ashok said.
For the first time in his political career on April 9, Modi has admitted under oath that he is married. In the affidavit filed by Modi along with his nomination papers for the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat, the Gujarat chief minister has mentioned Jashodaben's name in the column on marital status of the candidate. However, in the columns seeking details regarding spouse, Modi has said 'have no information'.
Modi, 63, has so far contested four Assembly elections but had never mentioned the name of his spouse. He always left it blank. Even in public, he had never talked about being married. In fact he has always said that he had no family life and his life was dedicated to the nation. In one of his speeches Modi went on to say since he did not have a family he could not commit corruption.
Soon after Jashodaben's existence became public, Modi's elder brother Somabhai issued a statement claiming the marriage was merely a "social formality". The marriage was never consummated, as Modi left the house for the service of the nation soon after the marriage.