With Rishi Sunak’s elevation to the top position in the UK, the Indian diaspora in the UK is ecstatic. It is not just the Indians but even other South Asian people who are equally happy that one of them has made it to the top in British politics.
Sunak’s supporters are equally mindful of the great economic challenges before the UK and the hidden rivalries in the Conservative Party that Sunak will have to traverse in days and months to come.
Even as Sunak creates his cabinet and surmounts ideological opposition, Conservative members held a joyful celebration at the famous Parliament Square in front of the British Parliament, where they distributed laddoos.
#RishiSunak @RishiSunak British Indians celebrating @ParliamentSq @RamiRanger @CFoSB_ @ANI @David_Cameron @ZeeNews @timesofindia @TimesNow @republic @BBradley_Mans @SuellaBraverman @10DowningStreet @NewsArenaIndia @TheOpenForumUK @OpIndia_com @iglobal_news pic.twitter.com/pdJEhsNwn6
— @InspiringIWomen (@inspiringiwomen) October 25, 2022
Well-known medical doctor at the National Health Service (NHS), Vivek Kaul told India Narrative: “British Indians are elated as Sunak has broken the glass ceiling. Our children are more joyous than us because they know that the sky’s the limit. Now they also can aspire to reach the top in the British society”.
Kaul says that under Sunak, relations between UK and India will be beautiful as, “Sunak is a magnetic personality. He has a very positive psyche with a Western mindset. He will improve relations with India considerably”.
Over the past many months, the Indian community has exhibited strong support for Sunak during his two campaign bids for the top slot.
“Indians turned up in large numbers at his last hustings at Wembley Arena along with lots of young white people. We will continue to strongly support Sunak for the next two years as the next election is very important. We want the Conservative Party to come back to power because we do not want the Labour supported by radical Islamists to come in”.
Former Nepali journalist and UNI correspondent Chiranjibi Paudyal, who is politically active at the grassroots, said that Sunak as the Chancellor under Boris Johnson has done more for the working class than the Labour Party has done.
Paudyal said: “Sunak’s ‘Furlow Scheme’ during the covid pandemic provided salaries from government coffers to the working class people whose companies had shut down. For at least one year or more, the masses got their salaries. If I compare this to the 2008 economic crisis when the Labour Party was in power, the government at that time gave large amounts of money to banks and corporations, which never percolated to the masses. Those large amounts of money went as bonuses to the rich during prime minister Gordon Brown’s government”.
He said that Sunak is creative and is a great inspiration, “as he has shown that with hard work and education you can achieve a lot”.
Paudyal says that the rise of many ethnic ministers and people of colour — Suella Braverman, Priti Patel, Kemi Badenoch, Kwasi Kwarteng — to powerful positions has led to South Asians switching to the Conservative Party at the grassroots.
The biggest gainer from Sunak’s rise is the Conservative Party as South Asians join the party. This is a view tweeted by Lord Rami Ranger as well, who said: “Conservatives will attract more non-white supporters to the Party” because of Rishi Sunak.
Power of faith🙏🪔🎉
@RishiSunak becomes the first nonwhite Prime Ministers of the UK🇬🇧 demonstrating colour doesn’t matter. What matters is loyalty, commitment & determination to succeed.
@Conservatives Party will attract more none white supporters to the Party. pic.twitter.com/DEFrAlQvGP
— Lord Rami Ranger CBE (@RamiRanger) October 24, 2022
Despite much jubilation among the Indian diaspora, along with many South Asian people, experts predict caution for Sunak due to strong economic headwinds.
Noted human rights activist on Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), Amjad Ayub Mirza told India Narrative that Sunak came to the forefront not just because of problems in the Conservative Party but also because the UK economy is in a deep mess.
Mirza said: “We have a big economic crisis but many people are not able to see it. Inflation is high, mortgages are going up and the European Union market has high tariff barriers. The point is whether Rishi Sunak can revive the economy? He will have to deploy the two skills that are needed most – organisational skills and leadership skills. I think he has a vision, but we have to wait and see”.
However, sharing the widespread sentiment, Lakshmi Puri, the former UN assistant secretary general, wished both Sunak and the UK best wishes. She tweeted: “When #RishiSunak takes oath during these auspicious Diwali days, he will script history. May he, true to his name Rishi, exercise all the sagacity that is needed to ride the storm & steer UK towards (prosperity) in this critical time. 1.3 billion Indians wish him strength & success”.
Also Read: Rishi Sunak vows to bring unity and tackle rising economic challenges