Everything about Indian-origin Rishi Sunak, frontrunner in UK PM race
Rishi Sunak is vying to become the first Indian-origin prime minister of the United Kingdom. After Liz Truss resigned from the top post last week and former PM Boris Johnson dropped out of the race on Sunday, Sunak has emerged as the favorite over the other candidate, Penny Mordaunt. His candidacy also gains significance as the country is grappling with a severe economic crisis.
Why does this story matter?
- Sunak was one of numerous Conservative Party Members of Parliament (MPs) who resigned from Boris Johnson's administration in July, placing him on the edge of stepping down.
- He had resigned as the finance minister, alleging multiple transgressions of Johnson's government.
- Last week, Johnson's successor—Truss—was also forced to resign owing to her failure to address the economic crisis, refocusing attention on her likely successors.
Sunak's family background
Rishi Sunak, as his name indicates, is of Indian descent but was born and brought up in the UK. He was born on May 12, 1980, in Southampton, a port city. His father worked for the National Health Service (NHS) as a general practitioner, while his mother ran a pharmacy. He would be Britain's first PM of Indian origin, if he wins the race.
Held key Chancellor of the Exchequer post in UK Cabinet
Sunak was first elected as a Member of Parliament from Richmond, Yorkshire, in 2015. He was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, one of the most significant UK Cabinet positions, in February 2020. Notably, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he was praised for his economic package for employees and companies. On the other hand, he was also slammed for not offering sufficient cost-of-living assistance to households.
Business tycoon, co-founder of investment firm
Sunak, 42, had successfully operated his own business in the UK before entering politics. He has worked with several investment firms, too. Moreover, Sunak was also a co-founder of one of the country's largest investment firms. His firm has collaborated with many reputed companies, including those in Silicon Valley, California. Sunak has also actively engaged with several Bengaluru-based IT organizations.
Has combined net worth of £730 million with his wife
Sunak is married to Akshata Murty and is the son-in-law of Indian multinational IT company Infosys co-founder, NR Narayana Murthy, and Sudha Murthy. He met Akshata while studying at Stanford University. The couple got married in 2009 and has two daughters: Anoushka and Krishna. With a combined net worth of £730 million, the pair was ranked 222nd in the Sunday Times Rich List 2022.
Sunak not without controversy
Sunak made headlines when he took oath on the Bhagavad Gita as a member of the UK Parliament's lower house—the House of Commons—in 2017. However, he found himself entangled in two major controversies earlier. The first was over his role as Johnson's "partner in crime" in what became known as "Partygate." The other was over Akshata's non-domicile status, leading to alleged non-payment of taxes.