On last day of auction, race to own Modi's suit crosses Rs. 2-cr bid

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Surat
  • Updated: Feb 20, 2015 13:16 IST

Surat-based diamond trader Mukesh Patel on Friday quoted Rs. 2.092 crore for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pinstripe suit with his name woven in gold on the last day of auction in the port city of Surat in Gujarat.

Patel trumped Surat-based builder Jayantibhai Itrela's bid of Rs. 1.81 crore on Friday for Modi's suit.

He had earlier made a bid of of Rs 1.39 crore for the suit.

"There are many items but I preferred Modi suit. I will keep that incredible suit like a diamond," Patel had said earlier, adding that he was inspired by by the Prime Minister's Clean Ganga Mission.

"When Narendrabhai was chief minister of Gujarat, he held such auctions for education of the girl child. Now, he is Prime Minister and he is making an appeal to clean Ganga. That is the reason that I made this bid," Patel added.

Earlier, Surat-based diamond baron Hitesh Patel bid Rs. 1.75 crore only a day after another diamond trader had offered Rs 1.41 crore for the suit that Modi wore during US President Barack Obama's India visit last month.

The suit, that kicked up a political controversy, is being auctioned along with 455 items that Modi received as gifts during his nearly nine-month tenure to generate funds for the Clean Ganga Mission. The auction at Surat's Science Convention Centre will close at 5pm on Friday after which the articles will be handed over to the highest bidder.

Modi was photographed wearing the suit during his summit talks with Obama in Hyderabad House in Delhi on January 25 and at a joint media appearance that followed the meeting.

On closer inspection, photographs showed that the stripes were actually a monogram -- Narendra Damodardas Modi -- and embroidered on the fabric vertically down the stripe.

The suit had triggered a national debate and the Prime Minister was slammed by his political opponents for wearing an expensive suit.

Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Trinamool Congress have taken potshots at Modi over putting his suit on the block and termed the auction as a "damage control" exercise.

On Thursday, Bhavnagar-based ship-breaker and diamond trader Komalkant Sharma, who is CMD of Leela Group of Companies, had offered Rs 1.41 crore for the two-piece suit, which according to some reports cost nearly Rs 10 lakh.

"He (Sharma) has bid for Modi suit as it is for the good cause of Clean Ganga Mission. He will be here tomorrow and, if necessary, he will increase the bid amount," Sharma's representative Chirag Mehta, who had come to submit the written bid, told PTI.

Earlier, Surat-based Rajesh Maheshwari, who has established a 'Global Modi Fan Club', made an offer of Rs 1.25 crore, Rs 4 lakh more than Wednesday's highest bid which ended at Rs 1.21 crore.

"We are true supporters of Modi and that is the reason we made the bid of Rs 1.25 crore," Maheswari said.

"We are 5,000 friends on various social networking websites. Yesterday, I made a proposal to make this bid and they agreed. If each person provides Rs 50,000 then the amount can be easily generated," he said.

Maheswari said the suit could be given on rent for weddings or for allowing people to click selfies to generate money which can then be used for a good cause.

On Wednesday, another textile businessmen Rajesh Juneja had made a written bid of Rs 1.21 crore for the navy blue suit, which is the star attraction at the three-day auction. There were four other bids of less than Rs 1.21 crore.

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