Auction of PM’s gifts begins, over 1,200 items on offer

Auction of PM’s gifts begins, over 1,200 items on offer

The fourth auction of gifts and mementos received by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi started on Saturday with over 500 items receiving at least one bid till 8pm.

This year’s auction — scheduled to run till October 2 — includes sports gear and equipment of medal-winning olympians and paralympians as well as a model of the Ram temple being constructed in Ayodhya.

Over 1,200 gifts are likely to be auctioned this year and some 300 of these items are on display at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, with the rest available on the official website.

According to the website, the most sought after item on Saturday was a figurine of Lord Ganesh sourced from the Shree Vinayaka Devaru temple in Karnataka. The image started at base price of 100 and received 31 bids till 8 pm on Saturday, which took the price to 6,000.

“We are getting encouraging bids,” said Govind Mohan, secretary, ministry of culture. “The auction is going according to plan. We expect the response and enthusiasm to continuously increase.”

An equally popular item on the first day was an elaborately detailed metallic conch shell placed inside a red velvet box. “The embossed shell depicts Lord Vishnu resting on Sheshnag, with Goddess Lakshmi massaging his feet. The upper portion of the shell is decorated with floral motifs. Vishnu is shown holding his attributes such as the mace, the lotus, the conch shell while his fourth hand rests on his thigh,” the official website states. Its price rose from 8,600 to 27,400 till 8pm on Saturday.

A wooden statue of Lord Venkateshwara from Tirupati received 30 bids. “…This was presented to honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi by Shri Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Governor, Andhra Pradesh,” states the website. Its price rose exponentially from 26,100 to 1,90,000 till 8pm on Saturday.

The official logo and mascot of the 2022 Chess Olympiad that was held earlier this year in Chennai, received 29 bids. The chess knight named Thambi has been designed in the traditional Tamil attire and can be seen saying ‘vanakkam (greetings)’ with folded hands. “The name is a symbol of brotherhood, and it indicates that we all belong to one fraternity,” the website states. Its price went up from 1,600 to 8,100 till 8pm on Saturday.

Next, with 25 bids, was a decorative, gold coloured mace. Its price rose from 4,300 to 11,000 in the same time period.

A T-shirt autographed by Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Gold medallist Manish Narwal, which is the highest valued item on the website received one bid, taking its price from 10,00,000 to 12,00,000.

A black marble sculpture of Subhash Chandra Bose also received one bid, going from base price 5,00,000 to 5,51,000.

The proceeds from the auction will go to the government’s ‘Namami Gange’ initiative — an integrated conservation and rejuvenation programme initiated by the Central government in June 2014.

The programme aims to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the Ganga river by adopting a comprehensive river basin approach.

Last year, India’s Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra’s javelin fetched 1.5 crore, as mementos presented as gifts to Modi were sold over three rounds of auction. A total of over 16 crore was collected for over 1,300 items auctioned.

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