Jashodaben on pilgrimage, ‘prays for Narendra Modi’s success’
Jashodaben, the 62-year-old wife of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, is currently on “pilgrimage”, praying for her husband’s success in the Lok Sabha elections, according to family members.
Ashok Modi, Jashodaben’s brother who lives in Unjha, described as “baseless” the description of his sister’s marriage with Modi — provided by the chief minister’s elder brother Somabhai Modi on Thursday — as “child marriage”.
“Even if he (Somabhai) is claiming that it was a child marriage, it means he is admitting that there indeed was a marriage between my sister and Modi. However, it is baseless that it was a child marriage as my sister Jashodaben was 17 years old at the time of the wedding. Our family has never lied about this union, and whatever information has been provided by Jashodaben is genuine,” Ashok Modi said.
Asked where Jashodaben was, Ashok said, “My sister has gone on a spiritual tour with a family friend. She has already visited Ambaji, but she did not wish to return home and has decided to extend her tour and is currently in Ganganagar. She is constantly in touch with us.”
Sources close Jashodaben said she is known to be deeply religious, and has taken a “religious vow” to pray for Modi’s success in his mission to become prime minister. She is currently on pilgrimage to Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram, the sources said.
Narendra Modi’s younger brother Prahlad said, “I was too young at that time to remember details about my brother’s marriage. I don’t recall seeing Jashodaben in my house. However, if my elder brother Somabhai is saying so, then it must be true.”
In his statement issued Thursday, Somabhai explained the circumstances of the BJP leader’s wedding to Jashodaben and said that “this marriage, in his (Narendra Modi’s) childhood, to Jashodaben Chimanbhai Modi, was a formal ritual because Narendrabhai had already left home then”.
BJP sees heavy polling as a vote of confidence
Party banks on high turnout in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi; in Haryana, Aam Aadmi Party cries rigging
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As the voter turnout in almost all the 91 constituencies that went to the polls on Thursday surpassed previous levels, it was the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that appeared the most jubilant. The party sees particularly good prospects for itself in Uttar Pradesh.
Maharashtra was a disappointment, though, as it saw a lower than expected turnout. The Election Commission’s satisfaction over the turnout levels was marred by bomb blasts in two constituencies, Munger and Jamui in Bihar, in which two soldiers lost their lives. Also, unexploded bombs were discovered in Aurangabad. There was exchange of fire in Gadchiroli, an area inhabited by Maoists in Maharashtra.
Ten seats in western UP went to the polls and voter turnout in the region was 65 per cent, 14 per cent more than in 2009.
A senior BJP leader involved with the election strategy in UP claimed the party would win a major chunk of the seats.
Claiming that there was a “festive atmosphere” among voters and many wore new clothes, he said that was a clear indication that the people voted for change and to avenge misgovernance. Locals said a large number of emigrants had returned home to vote.
BJP sources are confident that the Muslim vote has been split between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in western UP. They say the SP has seen a late surge in support among Muslims. They also claim that some of the BSP’s Jatav vote is gravitating towards the BJP. “The Muslim-plus-Jatav combination is electorally a winning one in that region and we believe we have broken that,” said a BJP leader.
Delhi poll panel officials said that the highest poll percentage was recorded in North East Delhi constituency at 63 percent. It was followed by East Delhi (61.2 percent), West Delhi (61.1), Chandni Chowk (60 percent), North West Delhi (59.3), New Delhi (59.2) and South Delhi (57.2).
Voter enthusiasm was evident in both middle class and working class areas. In some places, the queues snaked out of the school buildings where polling stations were set up. Even affluent areas, which are usually lethargic vis-a-vis elections, reported heavy polling.