Monday, November 28, 2022

Sunak to become UK’s first Indian-origin PM

Rishi Sunak on Monday is all set to make history as Britain’s first Indian-origin Prime Minister after being elected unopposed as the new leader of the governing Conservative Party on Diwali, following Penny Mordaunt’s withdrawal from the race.
The 42-year-old former chancellor, a devout Hindu, was comfortably in the lead, having secured the public backing of over half the 357 Tory MPs– way above the 100 minimum required to make the shortlist. In time for the 1400 local time Monday deadline, Sir Graham Brady, chair of the influential 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, announced in the Parliament complex that he had received only one nomination and therefore Sunak is the winner of the leadership contest.
This means Sunak is poised to walk through the door of 10 Downing Street in London after an audience with King Charles III in Buckingham Palace, the timeframe of which will become known soon.
Earlier, high-profile Tory MPs switched allegiance from Johnson to Sunak, including former Home Secretary Priti Patel and cabinet ministers James Cleverly and Nadhim Zahawi.
Sunak’s victory marks a remarkable turnaround in political fortunes for the former finance minister, who lost out to outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss just last month after his popularity among party colleagues did not translate in the wider Tory membership vote.
The UK-born son of Indian-origin general practitioner father Yashvir and pharmacist mother Usha had spoken extensively of his migrant roots during the last campaign and also referenced making history by lighting Diwali diyas at 11 Downing Street as the first Indian-origin Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty, is the daughter of N.R. Narayana Murthy (76) who co-founded tech giant Infosys in 1981.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the world leaders who greeted Sunak. He said in a tweet: “Warmest congratulations @RishiSunak! As you become UK PM, I look forward to working closely together on global issues, and implementing Roadmap 2030. Special Diwali wishes to the ‘living bridge’ of UK Indians, as we transform our historic ties into a modern partnership.”
With India and the UK engaged in the final phase of troubled negotiations for a free trade agreement, there will be considerable interest in India to see whether Sunak, the former finance minister in Boris Johnson’s government, will be able to finalise a trade deal speedily.

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