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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s wife Jashodaben had a narrow escape on Wednesday when the Innova car in which she was travelling with her relatives met with an accident in Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan.
One of her relatives, Basantbhai Modi, 67, who was driving the car was killed. Two women relatives and her security guard were injured in the accident which happened about 40 km from Chittorgarh on Highway 27.
The accident happened when a truck ahead of the car applied brakes suddenly. The car rammed into the truck.
Jashodaben and her relatives were returning home after attending a wedding. She and the injured were rushed to hospital in Chittorgarh.
The prime minister’s wife is said to be fine. But one of her woman relatives and her security guard who suffered head injuries were sent to Udaipur for treatment.
The driver of truck, Puran Yadav who fled the scene after the accident, was later arrested by the police.
Modi was 17 when he married Jashodaben more than 50 years ago. As was the custom in those days and is still in rural India, Modi was forced into the marriage by his parents.
But Modi never consummated the marriage as the two never lived together. He never acknowledged the relationship till he entered the race for the prime ministership of India after being made leader of the BJP election campaign in the 2014 general elections.
Modi has almost no connection with his brothers and their families who live in Ahmedabad. The prime minister only visits his old mother on his birthdays to seek her blessings.
Jashodaben is a retired school teacher living in Brahmanwada village which is not far from Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She gets a monthly pension of Rs 14,000, and lives with a brother. A pious woman, she reportedly spends much of her time in prayer.
In an interview with the Indian Express before Modi became prime minister, Jashodabed had said: “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.”
She said she and Modi “parted on good terms as there were never any fights between us. In three years, we may have been together for all of three months. There has been no communication from his end to this day.”
Jashodabe said, “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.”
She said, “I spend all my time in bhakti (prayer). I mostly live with my elder brother Ashok Modi who lives in Unjha but I keep visiting the home of my other brother who lives in Brahman Vada near Unjha whenever I feel like. I feel I have got good brothers who have supported me.”
Being the wife of the prime minister, Jashodaben is provided security.