Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s famous ‘name-striped’ jacket stole the show at the three-day charity auction that began in Surat on Wednesday, with a businessman bidding around Rs.1.21 crore for the attire.
Sported by Modi when US President Barack Obama visited India in January, the suit was among the 450 items that went under the hammer Wednesday, evoking huge enthusiasm among people.
A local BJP leader Raju Agarwal set the ball rolling at the auction with a Rs.51 lakh bid. But he was soon overtaken by diamond merchant Suresh Aggrawal who made a bid of one crore rupees for the special suit which hogged the headlines even in the foreign media in January.
Soon, Aggrawal was shunted behind by an NRI Viral Choksi, who raised the bid to Rs.1.21 crore for the suit which is to be finally declared “sold” Friday when the auction ends.
The suit, which drew global attention, has been designed by Ahmedabad designer Ramesh Kumar of Jade Blue, Modi’s regular tailor, and it had the name ‘Narendra Damodardas Modi’ woven into it in glittering gold letters.
The suit kicked up a political row with opposition parties accusing the prime minister of indulging in ‘narcissism’ and questioned how a person with such humble beginnings could afford the expensive suit, reportedly costing around one million rupees.
At the auction on Wednesday, the suit covered a lifesize mannequin resembling Narendra Modi.
The suit is among 450 other items which went on sale Wednesday at the SMC Science Convention Centre. They were gifted to Modi after he became prime minister and the money will go towards the Prime Minister’s Clean Ganga Mission.
They include one gold article, 13 silver, 46 brass-copper-metallic artefacts, 14 ceramic and glass items, 31 wooden articles, 99 picture frames, 237 pieces of clothing and 14 miscellaneous items.
During his days as Gujarat chief minister, Modi had made it a tradition of sorts to auction such gifts for charity and had raised Rs.95 crore in his 13 years in the saddle.