NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to auction a controversial suit that bears his name in gold pinstripes, which he wore at a meeting with US President Barack Obama, leading to attacks he was out of touch in
a nation where many live in extreme poverty.
The tailored suit, which was ridiculed by Modi’s political opponents, will be auctioned in the state of Gujarat to raise money for a project he is cham-pioning to clean the Ganges river. The auction, which starts on Wednesday, will last three days.
“People are very generous in this area and we hope that it will raise a lot of money for a good cause,” said Milind Torawane, the municipal com-missioner of Surat, a port city home to India’s diamond industry, where the auction is being held.
Modi’s choice of the navy suit, which was em-broidered repeatedly with his name, damaged the image of a man who in last year’s election had pla-yed up his humble beginnings as a tea-seller and his personal sacrifices for India’s advancement.
Political rivals, including Congress party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who attacked the prime minister over his suit, said it had cost 1 million rupees (US$16,000) and Modi should instead concentrate on delivering on his promises to In-dia’s poorest.