Rishi Sunak's temple president says UK is having its 'Obama' moment

‘This is Britain’s Barack Obama moment’: President of Rishi Sunak’s home temple hails him becoming Prime Minister – as India’s president says he is excited to ‘work together on global issues’

  • Temple president Sanjay Chandarana likened Sunak’s appointment to Obama’s
  • India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated transforming ‘historic ties’
  • Parliamentarian Raghav Chadha tweeted that history had come full circle 
  • Mr Sunak will be the UK’s first Hindu prime minister and first of Asian heritage 

The president of Rishi Sunak’s home temple in Southampton said the UK is undergoing its own ‘Barack Obama’ moment with him becoming PM, as India’s president said he was excited to ‘work together on global issues’. 

Sanjay Chandarana, president of the Vedic Society Temple – which Mr Sunak’s grandfather co-founded 50 years ago – also said his elevation to Prime Minister meant more fireworks would be needed for Diwali celebrations and that Mr Sunak would be an ‘inspiration for youngsters’. 

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mr Sunak on Twitter and wrote: ‘Special Diwali wishes to ‘living bridge’ of UK Indians as we transform historic ties into modern partnership.’

Parliamentarian Raghav Chadha tweeted: ‘Today, as India celebrates Diwali in its 75th year as an independent nation, the UK gets an Indian-origin Prime Minister. History comes full circle.’ 

The president of Rishi Sunak’s home temple in Southampton said the UK is undergoing was own ‘Barack Obama’ moment with him becoming PM

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mr Sunak on Twitter and wrote: ‘Special Diwali wishes to ‘living bridge’ of UK Indians as we transform historic ties into modern partnership’

With his victory coming on Diwali, Mr Sunak will be the UK’s first Hindu prime minister, the first of Asian heritage, and the youngest for more than 200 years at the age of 42. 

‘It is a moment of pride for India that the country which ruled us for many years has now a prime minister of Indian heritage,’ said Manoj Garg, a New Delhi businessman.

Mr Sunak will be the first person of colour to become prime minister, an accomplishment reflecting that of Kamala Harris, a woman of Indian heritage who became US vice president last year.

Former Bihar state government chief secretary Dr M.A. Ibrahimi tweeted: ‘Rishi Sunak is now set to be elected leader of Conservative Party to become UK PM. All Indians are proud of his achievement.’ 

Tory former Cabinet minister Sajid Javid said Rishi Sunak becoming the first prime minister of Asian heritage is ‘something we can all celebrate’.

‘I’ve always believed the UK is the most successful multiracial democracy on earth – and I think this takes it to a new level,’ he told ITV’s Peston.

‘This is beyond politics and it’s something we can all celebrate.’

Mr Chandarana, 41, who works at an investment bank in London, said: ‘We are going to need more fireworks now,

‘Rishi becoming prime minister is Great Britain’s Barack Obama moment,’ he said.

‘This will be a proud moment for everyone who is Hindu. We are no longer just a community that is not part of the mainstream, we are part of the mainstream.’

Citizen TV in Kenya also drew comparisons with Obama’s rise to the White House.

Indian TV channels celebrated Sunak’s victory, with New Delhi Television announcing ‘Indian son rises over the empire’. 

Former Bihar state government chief secretary Dr M.A. Ibrahimi tweeted: ‘Rishi Sunak is now set to be elected leader of Conservative Party to become UK PM. All Indians are proud of his achievement’

India Today news channel took a jibe at the UK’s economic and political turbulence, using the Hindi term for someone of Indian background: ‘Battered Britain gets ‘desi’ big boss.’

Some said Mr Sunak’s selection was particularly special for the country with its recent celebration of 75 years of independence from British colonial rule.

Others celebrated Mr Sunak as a ‘proud Hindu’, saying he did not shy away from embracing his faith and Indian culture.

They shared videos on Twitter showing Mr Sunak taking his oath of allegiance in 2020 on the Hindu holy book Bhagvad Gita.

Other videos shared on Twitter showed Mr Sunak praying to a cow, considered holy by Hindus, when he was running for Britain’s top job for the first time in August.

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