AHMEDABAD:Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s controversial pinstripe monogrammed bandhgala suit was the main attraction when the auction of around 455 gift items he had received began in Surat on Wednesday.
The highest bid for the suit that the PM wore on January 25 when US President Barack Obama visited Delhi, on day one was Rs 1.21 crore by textile businessman Rajesh Juneja. “I am willing to pay that much for the suit because I like Modi,” he said. Gujarati NRI Viral Chowksi has offered to buy it for Rs 1.11 crore. Another businessman Suresh Aggrawal made an offer of Rs 1 crore for the pinstripe suit.
“It is charity work. I have decided to buy the suit because Modiji is doing a great job by donating the money generated from the auction to clean the Ganga,” said Aggrawal.
Surat-based chartered accountant Pankaj made the first bid for the suit at Rs 11 lakh. The bidding amount is likely to touch the Rs 2 crore mark at the end of the three-day auction process. Surat Collector Rajendra Kumar said the bidding will be closed at 5 pm on Friday.
“It was the Prime Minister’s Office’s decision to hold the auction in Surat. The gift items belonging to the PM are a national treasure and the money generated from the auction will be utilised for the Clean Ganga Mission,” said Milind Toravane, Surat municipal commissioner.
Among the gift items, there are expensive shawls, kurtas and two T-shirts. One of the T-shirt, carrying the emblem of Cricket Australia, was gifted to Modi by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott during the former’s visit to that country two months ago.
Meanwhile, Gujarati businessman Ramesh Virani claimed that he had gifted the pinstripe suit to Modi as a mark of respect. “We have family relations with Narendrabhai for a long time. I had gifted him the suit in the first week of January at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. I had invited him to my son Smit’s wedding on January 26,” said Virani in New Delhi.