According to a report carried by Indian Express, the retired school teacher Jashodaben, 62 was married to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi when she was 17 – and separated after about three years claimed they were never divorced and that she spends much of her time now in spiritual quest.
Mrs Modi, according to the Indian Express, gets a monthly pension of Rs14,000, and lives mostly with a brother and spends much of her time in prayer. In Ahmedabad to visit her extended family, she agreed to be interviewed by The Indian Express but refused to be photographed.
“We married when I was 17... I had quit studies once I went to his place and remember him saying he wanted me to pursue my education. He would mostly talk to me about completing my education. Initially he took interest in talking to me and even in the affairs of the kitchen,” said Jashodaben.
Asked if she was asked to keep a low profile, she said: “We have never been in touch and we parted on good terms as there were never any fights between us. I will not make up things that are not true. In three years, we may have been together for all of three months. There has been no communication from his end to this day.”
Mrs Modi said she reads everything that she can get on her husband and is confident about him becoming the Prime Minister of India.
Did Mr Modi tell her he was leaving her? “He told me once that ‘I will be travelling across the country and will go as and where I please; what will you do following me?’ When I came to Vadnagar to live with his family, he told me ‘why did you come to your in-laws’ house when you are still so young, you must instead focus on pursuing your studies.'
The decision to leave was my own and there was never any conflict between us. He never spoke to me about the RSS or about his political leanings. When he told me he would be moving around the country as he wished, I told him I would like to join him.
However, on many occasions when I went to my in-laws’ place, he would not be present and he stopped coming there. He used to spend a lot of time in RSS shakhas. So I too stopped going there after a point and I went back to my father's house.”
Was she Mr Modi's legally wedded wife, she was asked. “Every time people take his name, I am also mentioned somewhere, even though in the background. Did you not come all the way and look all over, to find me and come and speak to me? If I was not his wife, would you have come to speak to me? she quipped.
“I don't feel bad, because I know that he is doing so due to destiny and bad times. In such situations he has to say such things and also has to lie. I don't see my situation as being bad because I feel, in a way, my luck has improved too.”
Did she ever consider getting married again? “After this experience, I don't think I want to. My heart is not into it,” Mrs Modi concludes.