Jashodaben Modi, wife of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the hunger strike against the demolition of slums during monsoon, at Azad Maidan. (Photo: DC)
Mumbai: Just a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival to inaugurate the biggest business event ‘Make In India’, his wife Jashodaben Modi was in town on Friday. Though her visit to the city was a low-key affair unlike the Prime Minister’s programme, she was seen supporting a social cause and fasting against demolition of slums and in support of destitute and orphan children on Friday.
Initiated by Good Samaritan Mission, a trust from Vikhroli, Jashodaben remained present at the day-long hunger strike at Azad Maidan on Friday. Dressed in a purple sari, sporting a mangalsutra with a golden chain and spectacles, Jashodaben sat calmly with the organisers to extend her support. She did not show much interest in interacting with the media. Her brother Ashok Modi, who was accompanying her, said she has a hearing problem and answered most of the questions posed to Jashodaben.
Azad Maidan had huge cutouts of Jashodaben with organiser Brother S. Peter Paul Raj.
After repeated requests from the media, for Jashodaben to speak, she said that she wanted to continue her social work. "I want to work for orphan children, destitute and slum dwellers. The slums should not be demolished. I am fasting for them today. I want to work for a social cause," she said in Gujarati. Organiser Mr Raj did not want the media to ask her too many questions and was speaking on her behalf.
"She is an educated woman. She is a retired teacher. She will work for the social cause. The organisers had come to us for the event and we agreed. They are doing good work and we support them," Ashok Modi said. Even Ashok Modi dodged questions related to Narendra Modi and the organisers stopped journalists from asking questions related to the PM.
Mr Raj, who was the organiser, said he had met Jashodaben on a few occasions earlier. "I have met her earlier and always seen her being a devotee. Her participation will make a difference for us and we would be able to take our protest to maximum people," Mr Raj said. She had even visited the Good Samaritan Mission’s trust in Mumbai a few months ago.
Inspired by Mother Teresa, Mr Raj has been working for street children in Mumbai from 1994.