Surat, Feb 19: Bidding for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pinstripe monogrammed suit intensified on Thursday with a diamond trader offering Rs 1.41 crore, the highest so far, on the second day of the auction.
Two bids of Rs 1.41 crore and Rs 1.39 crore were received this afternoon in quick succession for the suit that Modi wore during US President Barack Obama's India visit last month, eclipsing the earlier offer of Rs 1.25 crore made this morning.
Bhavnagar-based Ship-breaker and diamond trader Komalkant Sharma, who is CMD of Leela Group of Companies, has 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.
Few minutes prior to that, Surat-based diamond trader Mukesh Patel had made a bid of Rs 1.39 crore.
"There are many items but I preferred Modi suit. I will keep that incredible suit like a diamond," Patel said, 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 told PTI.
Earlier, Surat-based Rajesh Maheshwari, who has established a 'Global Modi Fan Club', made an offer of Rs 1.25 crore, Rs four lakh more than yesterday'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.
Yesterday, 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 which ends tomorrow. There were four other bids of less than Rs 1.21 crore.
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'.
Congress, AAP and TMC had yesterday called the auction a "damage control" exercise. Congress had demanded that the process of auctioning be stopped immediately and the suit deposited with the 'Toshakhana' (treasury).
The auction at the Science Convention Centre will close at 5 PM tomorrow after which the articles will be handed over to the highest bidder.