In Gujarat, many bid for Modi memorabilia

FPAmong the items being auctioned are paintings, shawls, turbans and swords

Manikant Patel has travelled 80 kilometres, from Bharuch to Vadodara, for a red traditional turban worn by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi during a public function last year.

He is among the hundreds who are trooping in to the Akruti Art Gallery in Vadodara, hoping to grab some Modi memorabilia.

A total 1,073 items — all gifts received by Modi in the last one year, including paintings, turbans, swords, shawls — are being auctioned. While the auction is held every year, there is more interest this time as many feel that he may make the big move to Delhi.

"I want to bid for the turban, which will occupy pride of my place at my home in Bharuch. But I know that others are also interested in the turban, so I am ready to settle for the shawl that he wore," said Patel.

Gopalkant Rathwa, a tribal farmer from Kheda district, hopes to get at least one poster of Modi within his budget of Rs 400. "Some posters don't have a high opening bid... I wish to have one souvenir," said Rathwa.

"I have been given a budget of Rs 55,000 by my school management to pick up swords, shields and other silverware, which we can use for distribution as prizes or just keep as souvenirs," said Gita Sikdar, principal of the Navrachna School in Vadodara.

According to district collector Vinod Rao, the annual auctions have raked in Rs 100 crore since 2001. "The proceeds of this auction will go to a special fund called Kanya Kelavani Nidhi for educating girls," he said. While interested parties can fill bid forms, the final call will be taken on August 3, the last day of the auction.

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