It seems like Indian-origin politician Rishi Sunak will be getting his Diwali gift today, as he is likely to be elected the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on October 24, after no candidates came forward to contest against him till now.
Rishi Sunak is one step closer as the clear frontrunner in the Conservative Party leadership race on Monday to be elected Britain’s first Indian-origin Prime Minister after his former boss, Boris Johnson, confirmed he would be pulling out of the contest.
Apart from Johnson, two more candidates – Penny Mordaunt and Ben Wallace – were expected to take a run at the UK PM race. However, both Mordaunt and Wallace have not filed their nominations yet, with today being the last day to contest.
With the former prime minister stepping aside on Sunday night saying it was “simply not the right time” for his comeback, the prospect of a Diwali victory for Sunak cannot be ruled out.
The 42-year-old former chancellor, who said he wanted to “fix our economy, unite our party and deliver for our country” when he declared his candidacy, has held a solid lead in the contest having comfortably surpassed the 100-MPs threshold to make the shortlist in time for the 1400 local time Monday deadline.
According to the BBC tracker, Rishi Sunak has the support of around 155 out of the total Tory MPs, while rival candidate Penny Mordaunt has the backing of 25 Conservative Party MPs now. Meanwhile, the 54 MPs supporting Boris Johnson are also expected to swing for Sunak after recent developments.
A Sunak victory would mark a remarkable turnaround in political fortunes for the former finance minister, who lost out to outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss just last month after his popularity among party colleagues did not translate in the wider Tory membership vote.
As a devout Hindu, Sunak is a regular at the temple where he was born in Southampton and his daughters, Anoushka and Krishna, are also rooted in the Indian culture. He recently shared how Anoushka performed Kuchipudi with her classmates for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations at Westminster Abbey in June.
(With PTI inputs)
READ | Rishi Sunak inches one step closer to creating history as Boris Johnson drops out of UK PM race