"I don't think he will ever call me," was the answer from Narendra Modi's wife Jashodaben, in a recent interview reported in the media. But Jashodaben, who has been away from her husband for about 45 years, must have felt happy when Modi, on 9 April in his election affidavit, admitted to the world, for the first time, that she is his wife.
Modi, 63, on Wednesday filed his second nomination from Vadodara to contest the 16th Lok Sabha election. The prime ministerial nominee of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been tipped by opinion polls and the media to become the next PM of India.
Modi, who contested the elections in 2001, 2002, 2007 and 2012, had given no clue about his wife till now as he left the spouse's column blank in the poll nomination papers.
But now Modi has revealed his wife's name and profession. Jashodaben, now 62, is a retired school teacher and lives a secluded life in Brahmanwada near Modi's home town Vadnagar in Gujarat. Modi has not revealed any other details like his wife's income or properties in the affidavit. As per the Representation of the People Act 1951, candidates should reveal property details of his/her spouses also.
As per media reports, Modi married Jashodaben when she was 17 years old. However, Modi, in pursuance to achieve his goals, left Jashodaben, advising her to continue studies further.
Modi's elder brother Sombhai Damodar Modi had recently stated that the BJP PM candidate was married off as a child but walked away from the married life. Modi sees the entire India as his family and responsibility, said Damodar.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a nationalist group behind BJP, from where Modi graduated into politics, urges its pracharaks or volunteers to practice celibacy. This might be one of the main reasons for Modi leading a lonely life.
But now, after the big confession, it remains to be seen whether Modi and Jashodaben would reunite or not.
India's former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee is the senior most bachelor politician India has seen as a clean politician and statesman. Congress party's Rahul Gandhi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamatha Banerjee are also without spouses. While Vajpayee earned the admiration of the country for his service, there have been allegations of corruption against Jayalalithaa.
(Edited by Vishnuprasad S Pillai)