Rishi Sunak set to be UK’s first ever Hindu prime minister
Sunak will become the first Hindu and the first person of colour to become Britain’s Prime Minister. Aged 42 years old, he is also the youngest person to take the office in more than 200 years.
In 2015, Sunak was first elected as an MP and spent two years on the backbenches, during which Brexit dominated the political agenda. He supported leaving the EU during the 2016 referendum.
He subsequently became a junior minister in Theresa May’s Cabinet. It was Boris Johnson who assigned Sunak with his first major government role when he named him as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2019, and as the Chancellor in 2020.
Sunak will become the third person to lead the nation in seven weeks, and the fifth since 2016. Boris Johnson and Truss both frantically reshuffled their Cabinets as they fought to save their jobs, and Sunak is expected to bring in his own team this week.
The new prime minister has won popularity during the early weeks of the pandemic when he unveiled an extensive support plan for those unable to work during lockdown.
Sunak has remained tight-lipped on his policy plan during the last few days, but he was widely seen as the more moderate of the two candidates in the last leadership contest over the summer. Compared to Liz Truss, he took a softer line on topics like Brexit and the economy.
Sunak becoming Britain’s prime minister is a “Barak Obama moment” for people of Indian descent in the UK, president of the Hindu temple in the UK co-founded by Sunak’s grandparents in 1971 has told CNN.
“It’s a proud moment for us, definitely. Someone who belongs to the temple taking the highest post in the country as the prime minister of the United Kingdom,” Sanjay Chandarana, the president of the Vedic Society Hindu Temple in Southampton, said.
“I am thoroughly British, this is my home and my country, but my religious and cultural heritage is Indian, my wife is Indian. I am open about being a Hindu,” Business Standard quoted Sunak as saying.