Rishi Sunak, the British-born son of Indian general practitioner father Yashvir and pharmacist mother Usha, will become Britain’s new Prime Minister. During her previous ill-fated campaign against Liz Truss, she has spoken widely about her migrant roots and also made history by lighting up Diwali diyas at 11 Downing Street as the first Finance Minister to come from India.
“Sixty years after Naniji I boarded a plane in East Africa, on a warm sunny October night, his great-grandchildren, my children, were playing in the street outside our house, painting Rangoli on the doorstep, setting off fireworks and diyas; having fun like many other families in Diwali except for Downing Street, and the door is door to No 11, said Sunak, in his campaign video a few months ago.
The personal story also extends to a seemingly emotional reference to Infosys founders his in-laws Narayana Murthy and Sudha Murthy as he retaliated against an attack on his wife Akshata Murthy’s family fortune.
“I’m actually very proud of what my in-laws built, he said, during the heated television debates of the past few months.
A devout Hindu, Sunak was a regular at the temple where he was born in Southampton and his daughters, Anoushka and Krishna, are also rooted in Indian culture.
She recently shared how Anoushka performed Kuchipudi with her classmates for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations at Westminster Abbey in June.
But on a personal level, she also faced backlash from her opponents for her record as Chancellor until her resignation hastened Johnson’s exit.
He stood firm on his focus on inflation rather than the promise of vote-winning tax cuts to woo the Conservative Party’s membership base which traditionally favors low taxes.
“I will lower taxes in this Parliament, but I will do it responsibly. I didn’t cut taxes to win elections, I won elections to cut taxes,” he said.
His self-made credentials to work through a non-scholarship place at one of the best schools in the UK, Winchester College, to the coveted Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) of the University of Oxford and then an MBA from Stanford University as a Fulbright Scholar ticks all the right boxes for highest political office in the country.
His experience in the private sector at Goldman Sachs and as a hedge fund manager seems to give him the aura of someone who can be trusted in the face of tough economic challenges, which is further supported by his warnings about Truss’ unfunded tax cuts.
His political career began by winning the secure Tory seat at Richmond in Yorkshire in 2015 and from a junior role in the Treasury, he was suddenly catapulted into the post of Finance Minister when his former boss, Sajid Javid, stepped down in February 2020.
He proved skeptics who feared his high office experience would see him outclassed by his new boss, Johnson, were wrong because he was credibly leading the economic response to the COVID pandemic.
He was constantly touted as Johnson’s heir until it was beaten with some of his less popular tax hike policies in the aftermath of the pandemic and a partygate fine for attending a birthday event for his former boss in violation of lockdown rules.
In the final chapter, the duo found themselves challenged to face each other for the top spot in British politics, however, Johnson dropped out, and then Penny Mordaunt left Rishi Sunak 10 Downing Street tied.