Ahmedabad: Seeking to contain a controversy over Narendra Modi’s marital status, his elder brother Somabhai yesterday said that the BJP prime ministerial candidate’s marriage should be seen as a “social formality” which happened nearly 50 years ago.

Narendra Modi

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi files his nomination from Baroda. File pic

Modi acknowledged his marriage to Jashodaben for the first time in his affidavit filed along with his nomination papers in Vadodara Lok Sabha constituency on Wednesday, which has invited derisive remarks from the Congress. In the state assembly polls, he had left blank the column about spouse.

In a statement sent to the media by the BJP, Somabhai said, “Our parents had not studied much and we were a poor family. To them Narendra was like any other child. In such context our parents conducted his marriage in a tender age with Jashodaben, but it turned out to be just a social formality for the sake of it.”

“Modi, after leaving the house has not kept any contact with the family,” Somabhai said, adding, “Service to the nation was his only religion. So he left home and this material world. His marriage was just a formality as he left the house soon after his marriage.

Somabhai said. “The incident (Modi’s marriage) which had occurred 45-50 years ago is to be seen in the background of a poor and traditionally orthodox family,” he said.

Somabhai said that Narendra Modi’s current status should not be evaluated on the basis of “an incident” that had occurred 45 to 50 years ago. Somabhai said that his younger brother had left the house and the family because he believed in the concept of ‘world is a family’.