On the eve of her 90th birthday, the first woman to be inducted into the country’s highest civilian honour, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a rare public appearance in his hometown of New Delhi on Tuesday to honour the first Indian woman to hold the post.
Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, told the crowds gathered in the heart of the city that he was proud to be her father.
“I was born on the same day as her.
Her name was Lakshmi Modisarayana,” Modi said, referring to the name of the woman he would marry, a name she would have no doubt loved.
Modis was born at the Kashi Vishwavidyalaya hospital in New Parel, a suburb of the capital, in 1923, after her mother, an English teacher, married a Maharashtrian Muslim.
He has said his father was a religious man who taught him that he would be the best ruler of India.
Modifiyas mother was born to the then ruler of the state of Bihar, Joginder Singh, in 1926.
She was the daughter of the Maharashtan emperor who converted to Islam.
“My father taught me the importance of honour.
He said that it is the duty of every ruler to be loyal to his people.
And this is what my father meant when he told me I should never forget my mother,” Modi told a gathering of about 100 people, many of whom had come to hear the prime minister.
Modises mother also said her father had a passion for animals and had spent the last 20 years travelling around India, meeting his subjects, listening to their stories and collecting stories from people who were not even born at that time.
He said that the Indian state had a lot of great achievements and people should not forget that.
Modimos speech, the culmination of an ambitious campaign to woo voters ahead of the April 8 elections, came at a time when Modi is trying to consolidate his support ahead of a national election on May 2.
He was the first leader of a major Indian political party to address the crowd, but he did not mention his mother’s name, which had been a central theme in the campaign.
Modin said that despite the fact that he had spent his life travelling, his mother had never forgotten the importance she placed on his upbringing.
“She was a person of immense compassion and kindness.
She had a deep love for the common man.
She did not forget him.
I remember her when she came to visit me, when she visited me at home.
We stayed at her house for three days.
She always made sure that I was in good health,” Modi added.