Modi suit draws fresh bid of Rs.1.41 crore

Surat, February 19: Prime Minister rendra Modi's famous 'me-striped' jacket ruled the roost for the second day on Thursday of the three-day charity auction with an opening bid of Rs.1.25 crore, another of Rs.1.39 crore and a fil bid of Rs.1.41 crore.

The highest closing offer of the day came from a diamond trader and ship-breaking tycoon from Bhavgar, K.K. Sharma, who is also the chairman of the Leela Group of Companies.

Though Sharma was absent on Thursday, he is likely to be present to pick up delivery of the Modi suit if his bid proves the highest on Friday, his official agent Chirag Mehta told media persons.

Prior to this, local diamond merchant Mukesh Patel made a bid of Rs.1.39 crore, improving upon an earlier bid of Rs.1.25 crore by textile tycoon Rajesh Maheshwari.

The last bid on Wednesday closed at Rs.1.21 crore, with the initial bid starting at Rs.51 lakh, for the suit reportedly costing around Rs.10 lakh and worn by Modi during the visit of US President Barack Obama last month.

The suit is among the 455 items that went under the hammer on Wednesday and the proceeds will go towards the prime minister's Clean Ganga mission.

The suit, which attracted global publicity, has been designed by Ahmedabad designer Ramesh Kumar from Modi's regular tailors Jade Blue. It had the me 'rendra Damodardas Modi' woven into it in glittering gold letters.

It kicked up a political row with opposition parties accusing the prime minister of indulging in 'rcissism' and questioning how a person from such humble origins could afford the expensive suit.

At the auction on Thursday, it was put on a lifesize mannequin resembling Modi as the bidders examined it closely before making their bids.

All the 455 items -- which went on sale at the SMC Science Convention Centre -- were received by Modi as gifts in the past nine months in India and abroad.

These included one gold article, 13 silver, 46 brass-copper-metallic artefacts, 14 ceramic and glass items, 31 wooden, 99 picture frames, 237 items of clothing including T-shirts from Australia, and 14 miscellaneous items.

Since his days as Gujarat chief minister, Modi introduced the tradition of auctioning such gifts for various charities and had raised around Rs.95 crore in his 13 years in the saddle. IANS

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