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Bid for Modi suit soars to Rs 1.21 cr, Oppn frowns

Bid for Modi suit soars to Rs 1.21 cr, Oppn frowns
A Surat-based textile businessman Rajesh Juneja bid a whopping Rs 1.21 crore in an auction on Wednesday for Modi’s controversial pinstripe monogrammed bandhgala suit. The amount may go-up further before the auction closes on Thursday. This bidding has invited terse comments from the Opposition. Congress, AAP and Trinamool took potshots at the PM over putting the suit on the block and said the auction was a “damage control” exercise.

Opposing the auction of the controversial suit, Congress demanded that the process of auctioning should immediately be stopped and the suit should be deposited at the ‘Toshakhana’ (treasury). “This is happening three weeks after the suit was worn by Modi...this is a damage control exercise. Damage control of his reputation,” Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken told reporters in New Delhi.

Up for auction were also two T-shirts of Modi including one gifted to him by Cricket Australia during his visit to Australia in November. The T-shirts were among 237 pieces of clothes and textiles items put for auction. In all, 455 items that Modi had received as gifts during his nearly nine-month long tenure has been put on the block to generate funds for the Prime Minister’s ambitious ‘Clean Ganga Mission’.

Modi’s navy blue suit was the star attraction at the three-day auction which opened on Wednesday. Some reports said the suit had cost nearly Rs 10 lakh. The rather ‘controversial’ suit had received derisive comments during the Delhi assembly polls, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi criticising it.
Ridiculing the auction, AAP leader Ashutosh said, “Narendra Modi and the BJP have mastered the art of marketing. The sale of the suit is nothing, but marketing itself.” Meanwhile, Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien tweeted from Kolkata saying, “This is DCPR, Damage Control Public Relations, this has nothing to do with Ganga cleaning.”

Meanwhile, giving a new dimension to the controversy, NRI Gujarati businessman Ramesh B Virani, who had participated in the Gujarat Vibrant Summit, said he had gifted the suit to Modi when had he gone to invite the PM for his son’s wedding. Before Juneja’s Rs 1.21 crore bid, NRI businessmen Viral Chowksi offered Rs 1.11 crore to beat textile trader Suresh Aggarwal who had made an offer of  Rs 1 crore for the two-piece suit.

The first call started with Rs 11 lakh by a Surat-based chartered accountant Pankaj which was followed a few minutes later by the second bid of Rs 51 lakh made by Raju Agarwal, an estate dealer. “I have offered Rs 1 crore. This is a work of charity and when the Prime Minister is doing for a great cause like cleaning of Ganga, I decided to go head and buy the suit,” said Suresh Aggarwal.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suit, that he wore during his meeting with President Barack Obama last month, along with other 455 items that he received as gifts during his tenure as Prime Minister is being auctioned at the three-day event,” said Surat Municipal Commissioner Milind Toravane. “The gift items belonging to Prime Minister Modi is national treasure and the money generated from the auction will be utilised for the ‘Clean Ganga Mission,” he added. The event was organised at SMC’s Science Convention Centre at City-Lights Road in Surat as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had decided to hold the auction in the city.

M Post Bureau

M Post Bureau

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