Jashodaben Modi hits the headlines

Poornima Joshi | | Updated on: Apr 11, 2014

BL12_POL_MODI

BJP and its rivals in amud-slinging match over Modi’s marriage

In a no-holds-barred campaign, Narendra Modi’s acknowledgement of his marital status has let loose a string of innuendo and invective from all sides. A day after Modi admitted in his election affidavit that he was indeed married to Jashodaben — someone who has never before found mention and has since been packed off on a pilgrimage — the Congress questioned the credentials of a man who abandoned his own wife.

“In Delhi, they talk about respecting women... but his wife’s name never found its way to the affidavit... The Chief Minister’s total focus and the focus of the entire police force go into snooping on one woman. Gujarat cops run after one woman because the CM wants to know what is happening. Then there’s a poster put up in Delhi saying respect women. What kind of respect is this?” Rahul Gandhi asked at an election rally.

Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh tweeted: “Narendra 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.”

Modi, who has ruled Gujarat since 2001, had left the column about his marital status blank in the three times that he fought Assembly elections there. In a surprise move, when he fights Lok Sabha elections for the first time from two places, in Varanasi and Vadodara, he submitted an affidavit along with his nomination papers in Vadodara that he is married.

He, however, said he has no information about his wife’s assets and other details.

The Congress has clearly decided to make this an issue, with many senior leaders asserting that Modi’s nomination should be rejected and he should be punished for lying in past affidavits.

Private lives

In retaliation, Modi’s election managers in Varanasi set about “exposing” the private life of all his opponents.

At the BJP headquarters in Varanasi a poster was released on Friday afternoon with a picture of Jawaharlal Nehru with Edwina Mountbetton with a caption asserting “ Deshi videshi patni prem (loving a foreigner’s wife)”.

Another picture was of Rahul Gandhi being kissed by a woman at a gathering in Assam. The poster listed SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s two wives; Digvijaya Singh’s two wives and SP leader Azam Khan’s six wives. The poster also had a picture of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor in an intimate pose with his late wife Sunanda Pushkar with a suggestive headline: “Three wives, all died in mysterious circumstances.”

The poster akso showed Modi addressing a rally with the caption “ Desh Premi (the one who loves the country)”. In a bold headline, the poster asks the question — “Who would you choose, someone who loves the country or only loves his wife?”

Simultaneously, the party unleashed a posse of spokespersons to attack the Congress.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said: “If false affidavits are really the issue, I will be compelled to ask about the false affidavits which Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi gave about their educational qualifications. Let them clarify those too.”

Published on April 11, 2014
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