BJP's prime ministerial candidate acknowledged his marriage to Jashodaben for the first time in his affidavit filed along with his nomination papers in Vadodara Lok Sabha constituency yesterday. In the state assembly polls, he had left blank the column about spouse.
Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh tweeted, "Modi accepts his marital status. Can women of this country trust a man who stalks a woman, deprives his wife of her right? Vote against Modi."
In the column in the affidavit about his wife's assets and liabilities, Modi has written that he has no information.
Jashodaben, a 62-year-old retired teacher, and Modi were married very young and had also separated because he moved out of home as a young RSS pracharak. Singh's reference to stalking of a woman is an apparent reference to the surveillance of a woman by the Gujarat police allegedly at the behest of higher ups in the state government.
Seeking to contain the controversy, Modi's elder brother Somabhai said the marriage should be seen as a "social formality" which happened nearly 50 years ago.
In a statement sent to the media by the BJP, Somabhai said, "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 in a tender age with Jashodaben, but it turned out to be just a social formality for the sake of it."