For guest appearances, Modi piles up Rs 23 crore in 5 yrs!

By Sanchit on Sunday, January 31, 2010

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Narendra modi AHMEDABAD: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who knows that he is a crowd-puller, has been cashing in on his celebrity status, literally. Like Bollywood stars, getting Modi to attend functions comes at a cost. A big difference, however, is that Modi uses his "celebrity appearance fee" for a cause.

So, even as his detractors slam him for hogging the limelight, Modi's office has collected Rs 23 crore in the past five years just from his public functions. A large chunk of these funds have been diverted to Kanya Kelavani Nidhi, created for educating the girl child in Gujarat. While a major part of the sum comes from donations, considerable amounts are also raised from auctioning gift articles which Modi has received.

A part of the collections also goes to the CM's Relief Fund, which saw inflow to the tune of Rs 104 crore ever since Modi took over the reins.

A Gujarat-based corporate house, which recently invited Modi to inaugurate its facility, donated Rs 11 lakh to CM's fund. The amount depends on the paying capacity of the organizers. Modi inaugurated about 20 such events in January 2010 alone and presided over hundreds of such events in the past five years. "He started the practice in 2006.

The donation is voluntary," said a CM aide. Officials do, however, size up the paying capacity of the organizers and drop hints about what should be the amount of donation. A lot of scholarships to bright girl students and bonds worth Rs 1,000 each to help support the education of lakhs of girls have come out of this fund.