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No Fear No Favour

Ready for Rishi?

By: Vikas Mavi

25 October, 2022 (New Delhi): Rishi Sunak was sworn in as the United Kingdom’s new prime minister and the country’s first leader of colour on Monday, capping a stunning turnaround in fortunes just weeks after failing in his first attempt to lead the ruling Conservatives.
The victory couldn’t have come at a better time for Sunak, who is set to become the UK’s first Hindu prime minister. By Monday afternoon, he had received public nominations from nearly all top Tory lawmakers, edging out his only remaining rival in the race, Penny Mordaunt, who had received public nominations from only 26 lawmakers. She later dropped out of the race.

Here’s everything you need to know about Rishi Sunak, the UK’s new Prime Minister

Indian ancestors

Sunak will make history by becoming the first person of Indian descent and of Hindu faith to lead Britain. His grandparents were from Punjab and came to the United Kingdom from eastern Africa in the 1960s. Sunak told MPs in his inaugural speech in 2015 that they arrived with “very little.” His father was a family doctor in Southampton, England, and his mother ran a local pharmacy. Sunak grew up working in a local Indian restaurant before attending Oxford and then Stanford University in California. He insists that both his family’s and his mega-rich wife’s experiences are “very Conservative” along with tales of hard work and aspiration. He speaks Hindi and Punjabi in addition to English.

A ‘proud Hindu’

Sunak is a devout Hindu who attends the Southampton temple where he was born, on a regular basis. His daughters, Anoushka and Krishna, are also culturally Indian. He took his oath of allegiance to the Bhagavad Gita when he became an MP. Sunak has stated publicly that, despite being a British citizen, he is also a “proud Hindu.”

Murthy’s connection

Sunak met his wife, fashion designer Akshata Murthy, while studying for an MBA at Stanford University in California. They married in August of 2009. Akshata Murthy is the daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, one of India’s richest men, and philanthropist Sudha Murthy. Sunak has frequently stated that he is “extremely proud of his in-laws.”

Fabulously rich

Sunak is said to be the wealthiest member of the House of Commons, with a net worth of £730 million. According to some reports, his wife Akshata is even wealthier than the Queen. (Now the King, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.) Sunak and his wife first appeared on the ‘Sunday Times Rich List’ earlier this year.
Murthy’s £690-million stake in Infosys is thought to be the source of the majority of their wealth. Sunak, on the other hand, had a successful career in finance before joining the Conservative Party in 2015. Sunak’s parliamentary constituency in Yorkshire, as well as Santa Monica, California, are home to the couple. Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murthy have long been scrutinised for their wealth.

Political career

Sunak’s political career began in 2015, when he won the safe Conservative seat of Richmond in Yorkshire, as well as junior roles in the Treasury. When his former boss, Sajid Javid, resigned in February 2020, he was unexpectedly elevated to the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer. He dispelled fears that his lack of experience in high office would lead to him being overpowered by his new boss, Johnson, by credibly leading the economic response to the Covid pandemic.
He was constantly seen as Johnson’s heir, until some of his less popular tax hike policies in the aftermath of the pandemic derailed it.
Sunak’s opponents attacked him for his record as Chancellor until his resignation forced Johnson out. He remained steadfast in his focus on inflation rather than any vote-winning tax-cut promises to entice a traditionally low-tax Conservative Party membership base.

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