Diwali delight for Indians as Rishi Sunak set to become UK PM

Many Indians are delighted at the prospect of Rishi Sunak becoming the first person of Indian origin to become British prime minister, just as Hindus like him celebrated Diwali across the world on Monday.

Sunak was set to take the top job after his rivals Boris Johnson and Penny Mordaunt withdrew from the race to replace Liz Truss as leader of the Conservative Party. Truss quit after a month and a half as her support evaporated and Sunak was poised to formally take over as prime minister later on Monday or Tuesday.

Sunak’s expected rise to the premiership had already made it to the front pages of most Indian newspapers – alongside the Indian cricket team’s win over arch-rivals Pakistan in a T20 World Cup match late on Sunday. Sunak, as well as Indian software company Infosys INFY.NS, founded by his father-in-law, trended on Twitter in India after he was chosen as the leader of his party.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him a bridge between the two countries.

“As you become UK PM, I look forward to working closely together on global issues, and implementing Roadmap 2030,” Modi said, referring to a plan to boost trade and other ties between the countries.

“Special Diwali wishes to the ‘living bridge’ of UK Indians, as we transform our historic ties into a modern partnership.”

Former British Chancellor of the Exchequer, or finance minister, Sunak, 42, is known to celebrate the festival of lights. He has also been photographed lighting candles outside No. 11 Downing Street – the finance minister’s official residence – to mark the occasion.

Some Indians said Sunak becoming prime minister this year would be even more special as India recently celebrated 75 years of its independence from British colonial rule.

“Rishi Sunak took oath as an MP on (Hindu holy book) Bhagavad Gita. If he repeats the same for taking oath as prime minister, what a day it is for India, that too on our 75th year of independence from Britain,” Chennai resident D. Muthukrishnan wrote on Twitter.

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