According to the head of the Hindu temple founded by the new Conservative leader’s grandfather, Rishi Sunak, becoming prime minister is “our Barack Obama” moment.
Ramdas Sunak, the grandfather of Mr. Sunak, founded Southampton’s Vedic Society Hindu Temple in 1971. Mr. Sunak continues to visit while he is in his hometown thanks to the bond his father maintained.
After Mr. Sunak’s election as the new leader of the Tories on Monday, temple president Sanjay Chandarana spoke with the PA news agency. Even now, he visits the shrine frequently. Just a few days before Rishi quit as chancellor, he did that in July. They held a family prayer here, and he came for lunch.
“I know it is going to happen. As soon as he becomes Prime Minister, he would undoubtedly come to the temple for prayer.”
Barack Obama moment
He added: “It’s a proud moment, the temple is buzzing right now, a lot of people are showing their own pictures with him, when he was here before he took pictures with every single person who was in temple, 300 people.”
“It’s like for the UK, it’s the Barack Obama moment, where a non-white person becomes Prime Minister for the first time, also a person from Indian origin and Hindu which is another dimension and everyone is very proud.”
Mr Chandarana said that Sunak’s appointment as PM showed that integration was working in the UK.
“Last time, he didn’t win because of politics, it was nothing to do with anything else because he became chancellor previously, if race or color were an issue he wouldn’t have become a chancellor, Boris wouldn’t have picked him.”
“It will unite the country, because he practises Hindu religion religiously and one of the key values we have is the whole world is our family and we believe in unity in that respect.
“The biggest challenge is the economic challenge and the political uncertainty, that is something he will have to address.”
He said: “We increased our firework time from 15 minutes to 20 minutes.
Also when we learned he was going to be Prime Minister we offered a special prayer and he will feature in my Diwali speech.”
“It’s going to be another festival within a festival, the icing on the cake.”
He added that he believed Sunak would be a good Prime Minister, saying: “He is an intellectual guy, he looks at things practically, he is humble at the same time, he understands what is required, he will lead the country through the economic challenge and I believe he will be a good Prime Minister without a shadow of a doubt.”
“And I think he will unite the party, I am not a politician, I am talking about what I know about him and his family, they are humble and honest people.”
“Possibly rare for a politician, he is honest, he will be upfront and direct about things and say things the way it is. He will do a good job.”
“We are looking forward to that call from his father or his security team saying he is going to come, it’s always a proud moment to meet him, I’ve met him as chancellor and now I can meet him as Prime Minister.”
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