Modi’s Suit Creates Ripples Again, This Time at Charity Auction

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
The suit appeared to be a classic navy blue pinstripe design but actually spelt out “Narendra Damodardas Modi” again and again (photo: AFP)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is auctioning off his controversial suit with his name embroidered in gold pinstripes that had created a controversy when he wore it when he hosted U.S. President Barack Obama in January. A textile merchant from Surat Rajesh Juneja is willing to fork out a massive Rs 1.21 crore ($184,000) for the suit at a charity auction that ends on Friday.

Juneja topped an earlier bid by entrepreneur Virel Chowksi, who offered Rs 1.11 crore for the suit.

The suit is among more than 450 gifts received by the prime minister that are being auctioned to raise funds for cleaning the Ganga.

“I am bidding because the money will be used for good cause and I am impressed with Modi,” Juneja said, adding that he was willing to hike his bid by Rs 30-40 lakh.

From a distance, the suit appeared to be a classic navy blue pinstripe design. But magnified photos of the gold pinstripes – which spell out “Narendra Damodardas Modi” again and again – went viral on social media last month, inviting ridicule from Opposition leaders who said it cost nearly Rs 10 lakh ($16,000). Critics accused him of being "self-obsessed", "narcissistic" and a megalomaniac”.

The suit had generated negative publicity for the prime minister barely two weeks before the Delhi assembly election. It created an unflattering image of Modi as a politician no longer connected with the common man. This may have helped in turning off voters in Delhi, with regional rival party AAP decimating the BJP.

It also reflected poorly on Modi’s judgement when it emerged that a similar suit was earlier cworn by deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

The Congress claimed that Modi was auctioning the outfit as he wanted to get rid of it after all the condemnation.

“This is happening three weeks after the suit was worn by Modi... This is a damage control exercise. Damage control of his reputation,” party general secretary Ajay Maken told reporters in Delhi.

Yet, auctioning gifts for charity was an established practice under Modi's 2001-2014 stint as chief minister of Gujarat, where the gifts he received were regularly auctioned off and the proceeds used to fund programmes for the education of girls in the state.

- Karan Singh

To Learn More:

Rs 1.21-crore bid for Modi's pinstripe suit, parties take swipes at PM (by Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times)

That Modi Pinstripe Suit? Here’s What the Prime Minister Has Done With It (by Rajesh Roy, WSJ)

NRI businessman rubbishes Rs 10 lakh price claim of Modi's suit (ANI)

India PM Narendra Modi's '1m-rupee name suit' criticised (BBC News)

The Next Big Thing in Deposed-Leader Chic: Pinstripes With Your Name (by Christy Choi, Time)


Ahad 9 years ago
about Jesus you will enter. Are you a true ciizten????//I'm a true ciizten of India, and I know my limits to enter the problems of others (my fellow Indians). I'm not pouring any oil and I'm not scolding any religion by using this chance. So if I scold like you, then only I can become a true ciizten of India? If so according to your word I'm not a good ciizten.//All the bad words in this world are formed to scold ANTONY the idiot.//I'm taking this word with a broader mind, coz I'm still thinking you are a brother to this idiot.//You people are saying that Jesus reborn on Easter. If so where is he now? Jesus is not God. He jus did some magics among people. and developed a religion. Many kings altered Bible content per their wish. All are stupid stuff.//Jesus is not reborn. Jesus has raised from the dead, and he has gone to heaven on the 40th day. If you dont know abt bible, pls dont give wrong sentence. I'm not criticizing that Raman is not a God and so and also no one here But U R just criticizing that Jesus is not a God and keep on spitting on it. This shows your maturity level. I'm not going to criticize on Hinduism as u did against us. I'm still giving respect to your at the end I'm just repeating your words //There are many auspicious/foolish beliefs in all religions. All religions are equally good and worse.Be a human Atfirst and respect others as well.// Just read your own words against your comments.My God Bless You and Your Family.

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