Surat | Bidding for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pin-striped bandhgala suit intensified today with a Surat-based diamond trader offering Rs 1.48 crore, upping his earlier stake by Rs nine lakh and eclipsing the bid of Rs 1.41 crore of a Bhavnagar businessman. Surat-based Mukesh Patel enhanced his bid to Rs 1.48 crore from Rs 1.39 crore he had offered earlier.
The fresh offer outstrips by Rs 7 lakh the Rs 1.41 crore bid by Bhavnagar-based Ship-breaker Komalkant Sharma, CMD of Leela Group of Companies. Made on the penultimate day of the three-day auction, Patel’s bid is the biggest so far, Rs 27 lakh more than yesterday’s highest of Rs 1.21 crore by textile trader Rajesh Juneja.
Earlier in the day, Global Modi Fan Club’s Rajesh Maheshwari, also from Surat, had made a bid of Rs 1.25 crore. There were four other bids of less than Rs 1.21 crore for the suit which Modi had worn during his meeting with the US President Barack Obama. As the monogrammed bandhgala, which according to some reports is worth Rs 10 lakh, hogged all the limelight at the auction, initially there were few takers for the humble Cricket Australia T-shirt gifted to Modi by bowling great Brett Lee which attracted bids ranging between Rs 1500 and Rs 2000.
However, towards the evening a BJP MLA from Surat and a city-based businessman made two separate bids of Rs 1.11 lakh each for the football world cup jersey and cricket Australia T-shirt gifted to Modi. Harsh Sanghvi, MLA from Surat’s Majura assembly seat, said he will donate the FIFA World Cup T-shirt to a team of blind sportspersons if he won the bid.
I have made a bid of Rs 1,11,111 for the FIFA T-shirt that was gifted to Prime minister Modi during his visit to Brazil after football World Cup last year as I want to donate it some blind people’s team either of cricket or football, Sanghvi said. I have preferred the sport T-shirt over other items as I am young and want to encourage the youth of my constituency who are pursuing a career in sports. This will surely encourage them, added Sanghvi.
Surat-based Vrajesh Unadkat, who is into construction business, said he bid for the Cricket Australia T-shirt as both Modi and Lee are icons for the youth. If my bid succeeds, I will gift the T-shirt to a local cricket team, he said. Amid the media hype surrounding the auction, Congress workers held a protest outside the venue– Science Convention Centre–calling the event an act of self publicity.
Swine flu cases are on rise in the city, the state and also in the country, but the BJP government has neglected poor patients. Now they hold such extravaganzas in the name of cleaning Ganga. The people of Varanasi should ask Modi why he did not fulfil the promises he made, Surat city Congress president Naishad Desai told reporters. Modi has organised this extravaganza merely for self publicity and personal gain. This property belongs to the nation and certainly not to him, Desai said. Six Congress workers including Desai were detained.
The auction, apart from protest also drew derision, with JD(U) president Sharad Yadav calling the suit historic which should be kept in a meuseum. The suit is historic in nature. It should not be sold, but kept in a museum. The future generation can view it and they can learn a lot from it. No one should ridicule it…All this will increase tourism, he said in Delhi, taking a jibe at the Prime Minister.
The suit is among 456 items received by Modi as gift during his tenure as Prime Minister which are being auctioned by the Surat Municipal Corporation. The proceeds will be utilised to fund his ambitious ‘Clean Ganga Mission’.
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