Surat, Feb 20:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s famous ‘name-striped’ suit went under the hammer for a staggering Rs.4.31 crore at a charity auction here Friday, officials said.
The final winning bid was placed by top-notch diamond merchant Lalji Patel, chairman of the Dharmanandan Diamonds Pvt. Ltd. of Surat.
The suit was the star attraction among 455 items that went under the hammer. The proceeds of the auction will go towards the prime minister’s Clean Ganga mission.
The suit, which attracted global publicity, was designed by Ahmedabad-based designer Ramesh Kumar of Modi’s regular tailor Jade Blue.
It has the name ‘Narendra Damodardas Modi’ weaved 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 ‘tea-vendor’ could afford the expensive suit, reportedly costing around Rs.1 million.
At the three-day auction, it was put on a life-size mannequin resembling Modi, as the bidders examined it closely before announcing their bids.
All the 455 items – which went on auction Wednesday at the SMC Science Convention Centre – were gifted to Modi in India and abroad in the past nine months.
They included one gold article, 13 silver, 46 brass-copper-metallic artefacts, 14 ceramic and glass items, 31 wooden articles, 99 picture frames, 237 clothes including T-shirts from Australia, and 14 miscellaneous items.
Since his days as the Gujarat chief minister, Modi introduced the tradition to auction such gifts for various charities and had raised around Rs.95 crore in his 13 years in the saddle. IANS