Last month, Rishi Sunak advanced to the final round of the election to succeed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Since then, there has been a frenzy of coverage, criticism, and analysis surrounding the possibility that Britain may elect a prime minister of Indian descent.
Despite his Kenyan and Tanzanian roots through his parents (his dad was born and raised in Kenya, his mom in Tanzania), his story has not picked up as much buzz locally. One would think his run is comparable to Barrack Obama’s in the US, and should create excitement among Kenyans. It seems not to be the case.
The narrative surrounding his campaign, as well as his political rise to become the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer in recent years, has been celebrated, with articles discussing the strength of British diversity and the growth of the Indian diaspora.
The PM candidate has also been eager to emphasize his Hindu religious identity. Most recently, he posted a photo of himself and his wife worshiping at an Indian temple to honour an auspicious Hindu religious event.
Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, who is the daughter of one of India’s most successful and wealthy IT entrepreneurs, are thought to be worth a combined 730 million pounds ($852 million).
The Hindu-practicing son of Indian and East African immigrants who was born in Southampton, Sunak, has noticed that the former banker’s background in wealth and class has received a lot of attention. Hindus in the UK, US, and India have embraced Sunak’s portrayal of himself as a devoted follower of the religion, and tales of Hindus praying for him have been among the consistent online and offline displays of support for him in recent weeks.
His bid has reportedly been closely followed by English-language mainstream media in India, according to observers.
On September 5, Britain will elect a new prime minister. The party leadership has whittled the list of aspirants down to Mr. Sunak and Liz Truss, the sitting Foreign Office minister. According to polls, Liz Truss has a sizable lead. A mostly aged, white, rich, male party membership will vote for the next PM.