Congress Party And Rahul Target Electoral Success BY Attacking Modi's Private Life
Why row over Modi’s marital status is partisan and unfair---
Author: Semu Bhatt, Source: Centre Right India
Narendra Modi has become the target of a vicious attack by his opponents after he declared his wife’s name in his poll affidavit filed in Vadodara. This was the first time that Modi acknowledged that he is married. During assembly elections in 2001, 2002, 2007 and 2012, Modi had left the column of spouse blank.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal has filed a petition with the Election Commission seeking action against Modi for hiding his marriage in his previous poll affidavits, and the Gujarat Congress has threatened to take legal action over the issue. Incidentally, in November 2013, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a PIL accusing Modi over not stating spouse details in his nomination papers in the 2012 assembly polls.
Congress, desperate to overcome a strong anti-incumbency wave and to stop Modi from racing to 7 RCR, has crossed the line that separates politics from private. On 11 April, Rahul Gandhi stooped to a personal attack on Modi by saying that it took several elections for BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate to mention the name of his wife. The charges leveled against Modi by his adversaries include, disrespecting women by hiding his marital status, misguiding the nation, lying by omission, dumping his wife and depriving her of rights, and having a questionable moral character. While Mahila Congress in Delhi burned Modi’s effigy, the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee President Arjun Modhwadia is grumbling that the state Chief Minister did not counter a film actress who had called him the ‘most eligible bachelor.’
One, the September 2013 Supreme Court judgment that has made it mandatory for candidates to fill in their poll affidavits fully, does not apply retrospectively. Earlier, it was OK to leave a few options blank. Thus, Modi had not flouted any law by not mentioning his marital status during the several Gujarat assembly elections. This time, when required to fill in all the details, he complied. It should be noted that it is not mandated to reveal the name of the spouse, but the BJP PM candidate declared his wife as Jashodaben Modi (her maiden name).
Modi declared ignorance about her PAN card number and income, which is understandable given that he has had no contact with her for over four and half decades now. Interestingly, Manmohan Singh, in his Rajya Sabha nomination affidavit in May 2013, had not furnished his wife’s name or her PAN and other details.
Two, Modi may have chosen not to speak about his marriage, which was finalised when he was a child and solemnised when he was still a minor, but he has never claimed that he is unmarried. His marriage was short lived and was not consummated.
In the 60s, child brides in small villages were forced to terminate their education to take up the burden of domestic responsibilities, early pregnancies and taking care of the babies. The social scene was such that even if Modi had abandoned her, Jashodaben would have spent her whole life serving his family. However, Modi encouraged her to go back to her parents’ home to complete her education. She left him, followed his advice and became a teacher. Today, she gets a monthly pension of Rs 14,000 thanks to Modi’s insistence on studies. What is better for a woman — to become self-reliant and live with dignity, or to surrender to a child marriage that her husband is not willing to accept or consummate, stay uneducated and dependent on the husband’s family?
Three, Modi’s wife could have taken the legal recourse for saving her marriage according to the provisions of law, or could have sought maintenance or divorce. She chose against all of it out of her own accord. Modi was a nobody for ten years since he left his home — was not influential enough to intimidate or influence his wife or in-laws to keep quiet — and yet his wife did not take any legal action against him.
Modi never divorced his wife, which shows that grihasti was totally off his mind and that he never intended to remarry. This establishes that he did not have a problem with Jashodaben as a person, but was genuinely driven by a cause and was not willing to let family ties distract him from his mission.
Four, Modi’s political rivals have no right to rake up an almost 50-year old personal issue, make it about women rights, and impose their views on Jashodaben, who has no problem with Modi and who fasts and prays for him to become the Prime Minister.
Five, Modi has always said, mere aage peeche koi nahi hai, kiske liye bhrashtachaar karunga (I have no family ties, who would I be corrupt for). Given that the existence of Modi’s mother and brothers was known to the people, it is unreasonable to take literal translation of his statement. Modi has maintained that he has no family entanglements or responsibilities, and has dedicated himself to the nation. The simple lives led by his family members are a testimony to the fact that Modi has not used his position for their benefit. His youngest brother, a clerk in the information department of the Gujarat government, has not received undue promotions. None of the family members, including his mother, live in the CM bungalow. It is in this context, that his statement should be understood.
Six, RSS, BJP and Congress leaders of Gujarat were aware of Modi’s child marriage from the time he became politically relevant in the state. Shankersinh Vaghela, former RSS and BJP leader who joined the Congress in 1999, and is now the Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly, has come out in support of Modi stating that he has known Modi for decades and that Modi has never stayed with his wife. Vaghela also appealed to his party men not to sensationalise Modi’s marital status.
Modhwadia has been talking about Modi’s wife for years now. In early 2001, when Modi contested the by-election to the Rajkot-2 assembly seat, four months after becoming the Gujarat CM, the Congress party had distributed pamphlets about Modi’s marriage. In April 2009, the Open magazine had tracked Jashodaben down, and the article was circulated widely by the critics of Modi. So, Modi’s wife was not exactly a state secret.
Why did the Congress not file complaint against Modi’s poll affidavit in 2001 itself? Why did it wait till the 2014 General elections to take legal action against Modi over his marital status in past affidavits? The move clearly betrays the Congress frustration as they have run out of options to defeat Modi electorally.
Seven, if political leaders were judged by their private lives by the voters, Jawaharlal Nehru would not have become the longest serving PM of this nation. The Gandhi scion and the Congress party would also do well to remember how a widowed Maneka Gandhi and her three-year old son were thrown out of her matrimonial house at midnight by Indira Gandhi.
Lastly, in January, Congress minister Shashi Tharoor’s wife was found dead in mysterious conditions and within 48-hours of making explosive revelations that Tharoor was honey-trapped by the ISI and that she had taken Tharoor’s IPL sins on her head. The Delhi police has confirmed that it has not given a clean chit to Tharoor in the case. Still, the Congress party requests to respect Tharoor’s personal life and privacy. However, Modi’s personal life is a fair game, and it is all right to disrespect privacy of his estranged wife and drag her into a political slugfest to target Modi in the name of women’s rights.
AHMEDABAD: While Narendra Modi undertook Sadbhavana fast in 2011 to soften his image of being a hardliner and warm up to minorities, Jashoda Modi, who was recently acknowledged by the chief minister as his wife, practiced Sadbhavana for nearly two decades.
For 19 years (till she retired in 2009) Jashodaben taught children of the minority community in Rajosana, a village where Muslims comprise 60% of the population. Sarpanch of the village, Rafiq Basan, says that Jashodaben was a loving teacher who never discriminated between Hindu and Muslim children. "She used to keep Ma Santoshi fast on Fridays and would lovingly distribute prasad of gud-chana (jaggery and roasted horse-gram) to Muslim children. If a child was not well and missed school, she would visit him or her at home," says Basan. She was married to Narendra Modi in 1968. Later, however, her husband left home to join the RSS. Forty-six years later, Modi has formally accepted Jashoda as his wife in the nomination papers submitted to the Election Commission for the Lok Sabha elections.
In the five decades after their marriage, Modi and Jashoda lived diametrically different lives. Modi is an ambitious politician, fighting tooth and nail for the top job of India. Jashoda, who retired five years back as a teacher, lives a quiet, spiritual existence marked by long hours of prayer and pilgrimages.
Interestingly, despite having no contact with each other, Modi and Jashoda have similar habits.
Both husband and wife are ardent devotees of Ma Amba. Modi and Jashodaben both fast during the nine days of Chaitri and Sharad Navratri living only on water and lime water.
Even during his gruelling schedule as the BJP's star campaigner for the Lok Sabha elections, Narendra Modi fasted on the nine days of Navratri only on lime water. Jashoda too fasted during Chaitri Navratri without consuming any food, and praying for Modi to become PM. Modi has confessed to winding up his day with a dialogue with Mataji each night. These have been produced in the form of a book called 'Saakshibhaav'.
Jashoda's brother, Kamlesh Modi, says Jashodaben has complete faith in Ma Amba. "She gets up at 4 am to pray and continues till 11 am. If she has been publicly accepted as Narendra Modi's wife, it is the fruit of her prayers," says Kamlesh Modi. Jashoda is also known to keep Modi's picture in the temple at her home.
Ashok, another brother of Jashoda, says that his sister is a very simple woman who epitomizes sacrifice made without expecting anything in return.
"She owns four odd sarees. She has never asked for more. Our family had asked her to consider remarriage but she had flatly refused saying that probably she was not destined to have a conventional happy marriage," said Ashok.
UNJHA: Away from the world's gaze, she was leading a quiet life as a retired school teacher. But when the spotlight turned to her, Jashodaben Modi, officially accepted by chief minister Narendra Modi, was nowhere to be seen.
As the media rushed to track her down, after Modi's nomination form for the Lok Sabha from Vadodara revealed her name late on Wednesday night, Jashodaben did a vanishing act. Perhaps anticipating the media glare, she was whisked away to an undisclosed location by family members — some said she had left on a 'char dham' pilgrimage with a congregation of 40 women.
The 62-year-old wife of BJP's prime ministerial candidate had confessed to her colleagues upon her retirement some years back that though she did not expect anything from her husband, she at least wanted him to acknowledge her once as his wife. In fact, close relatives said she had given up eating rice for some months now as a penance to see Modi as PM.
"Her prayers have been answered as Narendrabhai has publicly accepted her as his wife. We are very happy. We all pray for him to become PM," said Kamlesh Modi, Jashoda's elder brother who runs a grocery shop in Unjha. Kamlesh said that Jashoda never considered re-marrying after Modi left her 45 years back to become an RSS pracharak. She gave up wearing footwear for four months seeking PM candidature for her husband and now is on a once-a-day diet to see her wish fulfilled.
Jashoda divides her time staying with brothers Kamlesh in Unjha and Ashok in Brahmanwada, her ancestral village 32km from Modi's hometown Vadnagar where Jashoda and Modi were married in 1968 as teenagers. Brahmanwada — which lies to the north of Ahmedabad and isn't far from Unjha — was throbbing with curiosity and pride on Thursday. Her brother Ashok said when the couple first met after marriage, Modi spoke to her about his plans to serve the country and suggested that she pursue her studies and become a teacher. She did precisely that and never complained to anyone about her husband.
Having retired, Jashoda became quite spiritual — she gets up at 4am and prays till 11am. "The village knew her as Narendra Modi's wife but Jashoda never talked about it. She is a simple, nice and deeply religious person," said Pravin Vyas, an ex-colleague.
In the Modi family too, Jashoda is held in high regard as she accepted her life without any fuss. "Jashoda would read and watch every bit of news about Narenbhai. Despite being abandoned, Jashoda never spoke ill of him. That is a true Indian woman for you," said Vasanti, the chief minister's sister.
Modi's wife Jashodaben on pilgrimage, says no rice till he becomes PM
The secular chatter class remains alien to India's culture and civilization. They will never understand as to how can a girl child get married 50 years back and then separated immediately can still stay loyal to her husband who she probably hardly seen much or not at all once the marriage function was over. Yet to day Yasodhaben and Narendra Modi remain celibate. Such renunciations like Narendra Modi shown were not uncommon in culture and ethos of India. Many Kings and Saints chose to leave family life one time or another altogether in pursuit of higher goals spiritual and mundane.The house she lives in is very modest and does not show any signs of luxury of say relatives of SoniaG. And Modi never denied he was ever married.Yet the bankrupt Congress is making a big issue, raising big hue and cry this silence of Modi over marital status disqualifies him.
In the same breath they shout and scream that what Rahul Gandhi did during his umpteen trips abroad or how much SoniaG spent when she was abroad getting treatment in Sloan Kettering Medical Center where it was said even King of S Arabia did not have so many rooms booked and blocked in the hospital so entire areas remained for exclusive use of Mrs. SoniaG, and such, are all private matters, it is none of business of public. After all it was money of public that was spent for both of them. Is it not? If it is not, then the disclosure becomes all the more important because where did the twoGs get so much money for so many jaunts and to meet such huge expenses ?
When President of United States, Obama went on a foreign trip taking along many reporters, his expenses and bills became a public knowledge and there were debates about it as well as when his wife and children took vacation in Spain. And that is how democracies function. India is also a democracy but then just like secularism , democracy has different connotation for elite in India. It means Nehru's clan is above suspicion,despite their public persona nothing need to be revealed but only those who oppose them should face CBI probe. And Congress since it ran the government all these years was very obliging in cover up of any personal shenanigans of Nehru's and pseudo Gandhis. Now that the what remains of Congress chose to make an issue of Narendra Modi's marriage, BJP should bring to public notice all the marital and extra-marital relations in Nehru's clan, starting from Nehru to Rahul Gandhi. It is a matter of history as to how the illicit relations of Nehru harmed the national interest. There are books by his own private secretary, M.O. Mathai about these matters. Then there is a book on Nehru by Stanley Wolpert, Professor at UCLA , where not so honorable part as young student wearing drag played with fellow students in Eton public school , England. While such deviant behavior never got wide publicity due to obvious reasons, sterling patriots like Vinayak Damodar Savarkar were charged with offenses he never committed and was sent to prison .Savarkar went to jail once on being implicated in Gandhi's assassination and the other time for a crime he never committed, but per Stanley Wolpert Nehru had. In both instances Savarkar was vindicated and released by courts. It is a matter of shame and hope one day Congress will be made to answer as to how a man like Savarkar who spent more time in solitary confinement than Nelson Mandela was treated like that by independent India. Be that as it may.
Anyway Congress chose to attack Narendra Modi on a phony issue it is a good opportunity for BJP to open the matters relating to Nehru to SoniaG and let the public have an opportunity to judge them. Needless to say people have a right to know and both of them have played a pivotal rule in determining policy and functioning of government as such above matters become important. BJP had such opportunity once during previous NDA rule . BJP used to tell us about Subhash Bose leaving many papers and the trunk containing it was kept in charge of Yunus Salim, a confidant of Mrs. Gandhi. Subsequently when Vajpayee took over as PM, it was felt the contents may be released but BJP tall leaders then felt since the papers contain many derogatory things mentioned by Subhash Bose on his contemporarites they will stay forbidden from public view. Such reluctance is uncalled for then or now. After all we are not asking for any manufactured or fabricated material against 'the family'. What was said already by such contemporaries like Subhash Bose. Hope if the papers are still available coming Narendra Modi's government will act differently and set the history right.
Finally our respects to Yasodhaben. It is presence of such women give sacredness to soil of India. She undertook a pilgrimage , vowed not to ear rice until her
'husband' Narendra Modi becomes Prime Minister. You hardly if ever see such fidelity elsewhere in the world. Hence there is no equivalent word in English or other western languages to "Pativratha".