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‘Happy’ Jashoda awaits invite

Ahmedabad, May 23 (PTI): Narendra Modi’s wife Jashodaben has said she would attend his swearing-in ceremony on Monday “if invited”.

“I will attend if I am invited… why shouldn’t I?” the 61-year-old said in reply to a question during an interview to Gujarati television channel TV9 aired today.

Jashodaben, who was married to Modi when they were both in their teens but lived with him only briefly, said her husband’s rise to the position of Prime Minister was a “matter of extreme happiness”.

“I am so proud being his wife. I will pray to God that he keeps surging ahead,” said the retired schoolteacher, who lives with her brothers.

“He (Modi) for the first time accepted me as his wife when he filed the (nomination) form in Vadodara. As after so many years, he accepted me as his wife, I feel good. He remembers me even after so many years,” Jashodaben said.

Modi for the first time acknowledged that he was married before this election, giving his wife’s name as Jashodaben in his nomination papers. In previous elections, he would leave the column blank. The delayed acknowledgement by Modi of his married status had sparked a controversy during the campaign.

But Jashodaben argued that he had never “denied” their marriage. “Earlier, he did not put my name (in election forms) but he never denied (that they were married). He never spoke bad things about me. I have respect for him. I am his wife and will always remain his wife.”

She also praised his work as Gujarat chief minister. “What he did after becoming chief minister was impeccable. This is his karma, which helps him surge ahead. He surged ahead through his intelligence. Both his work and intelligence made him a big leader.”

To a question about their living separately, she said: “We have not divorced, we are not separated in that way. We are together. He left the family to serve the country and so we are separated.”

Asked when she would meet him, she said curtly: “When the time will come, I will go.”