AHMEDABAD: Narendra Modi has acknowledged for the first time that he is married, solving one of the biggest mysteries about the private life of the man tipped to be prime minister.
The 63-year-old is routinely described as a bachelor and is thought to have lived alone in his adult life, having risen through the ranks of a grassroots Hindu nationalist organization in which celibacy is expected.
Media reports have described how he walked away from a marriage arranged by his parents when he was a child, but this has never been confirmed by the man himself who has portrayed his single status as a virtue while campaigning.
In an affidavit on Wednesday as he filed his papers to stand as a member of Parliament from the Vadadora constituency in the western state of Gujarat, he acknowledged that he had a wife.
In the column of the affidavit to mention spouses, Modi — who is chief minister of Gujarat — wrote the name “Jashodaben,” but he states elsewhere in the filing that he had “no information” about her.
Modi’s brother confirmed in a statement that Narendra was betrothed to the now 62-year-old retired schoolteacher, who gave an interview in February in which she said she didn’t “feel bad” about not being part of Modi’s life.
The marriage, formalized when Modi was 17, is believed never to have been consummated.
“Our parents considered Narendra to be a normal child and under this circumstance got him married at a very young age,” his elder brother Somabhai Damodardas said in a statement Thursday.