Modi's monogrammed suit raises nearly $700,000 at auction

AP News
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Posted: Feb 20, 2015 9:32 AM
Modi's monogrammed suit raises nearly $700,000 at auction

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dark suit with its unique monogram pinstripes was auctioned Friday for a whopping sum of nearly $700,000.

Diamond merchant Lalji Patel, who like Modi is from Gujarat state, made the winning bid of 43 million rupees ($695,000).

Modi wore the suit with his monogram in dull gold pinstripes when he met with U.S. President Barack Obama in India last month.

The suit was estimated to have cost more than 1 million rupees ($16,000), and opposition party lawmakers criticized the prime minister for his insensitivity in wearing such an expensive suit in a country where millions live in abject poverty.

Gujarat official Milind Toravane said the suit and other items being auctioned were gifts received by Modi after he became prime minister in May. The gifts include decorative pieces in silver and brass, among other items.

The money raised in the auction will be used to clean up the heavily polluted Ganges River.

During Modi's 2001-2014 stint as chief minister of Gujarat, the gifts he received were regularly auctioned off and the money collected used to fund programs for the education of girls in the state.