NEW DELHI: India’s governing Congress party wants the Hindu nationalist opposition’s prime ministerial candidate prosecuted for filing “false affidavits” in the past concealing that he is married.
Law Minister Kapil Sibal said Friday the Election Commission has promised to examine the matter.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) premier candidate Modi, 63, 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 radical organization in which celibacy is expected.
But on Wednesday Modi acknowledged he had a wife in an affidavit while filing papers to run for the national Parliament in western Gujarat state.
Modi, the top elected official of western Gujarat state, informed the commission earlier this week that he was married.
In four previous registrations between 2002 and 2012, he left the question of his marital status blank, Sibal said. Modi has never explained the difference.
Indians are voting in phases for national elections that run until May 12.
Sibal says Modi must have realized “he can no longer withhold that fact” from Indians.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi too accused Narendra Modi of hypocrisy over his belated disclosure that he is married.
Gandhi, the 43-year-old scion of India’s famous political dynasty and unwed himself, is leading the campaign for Congress, which is tipped to lose to the BJP in elections that began this week.
He said Modi promises respect and security for women while on the campaign trail but never acknowledges his own wife.
“I don’t know how many elections he (Modi) has fought before but this is the first time he’s mentioned he’s married,” Gandhi told an election rally in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, has contested seats four times in the state’s regional assembly but never previously revealed his marital status on affidavits.