Rishi Sunak

It would be a historic landmark if the Hindu descendant of immigrants from India and East Africa were to take command of the world's fifth-largest economy.

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak, Who Took Oath On Gita, Bids To Be Britain's 1st PM Of Colour

Before his spectacular falling-out with Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak was on a rapid rise that could still end with him installed as Britain's first prime minister of color.

But after making the final run-off following a series of votes by Conservative MPs, Sunak must first persuade the party's members as ballot papers go out on Monday -- and he is well behind Liz Truss.

Fabulously rich from his pre-politics career in finance, the former chancellor of the exchequer has also been mocked as being out of touch when Britons are contending with surging inflation.

On the campaign trail this month, he wore expensive Prada loafers on a visit to a building site and was accused of "mansplaining" to Truss during a bad-tempered TV debate when he savaged her tax-cutting plans. Instead, Sunak argues, Britain needs a Thatcherite dose of "sound money" to quell inflation and get growth back on track.

"I have friends who are aristocrats, I have friends who are upper class, I have friends who are, you know, working class," he said, before adding: "Well, not working class."

Dishy Rishi

A details-oriented policy wonk, Sunak, 42, was an early backer of Brexit and took over as chancellor in February 2020.

It was a baptism of fire for the Tory rising star, as the Corvid pandemic erupted. He was forced to craft an enormous economic support package at breakneck speed, which he now says needs to be paid off.

In India, Sunak has been better known through his wife Akshata Murty. She is the daughter of Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of Infosys.

The ex-minister's Instagram-friendly profile earned him the media nickname of "Dishy rishi".

Party game fine

Until last year, Sunak held a US Green Card -- which critics said suggested a lack of long-term loyalty to Britain. And he has faced difficult questions over Murty's failure until recently to pay UK taxes on her Infosys returns, which opinion polls suggest was viewed with deep disfavor by voters.

In November 2020, he marked Diwali by lighting oil lamps on the front step of the chancellor's official residence at 11 Downing Street -- while urging others to stick to England's Covid lockdown.

Johnson was less observant of the rules, drawing a police fine for one lockdown breach as part of an investigation into the "Partygate" affair.

But Sunak also ended up with a police fine, after joining a birthday gathering for Johnson when he arrived early for a Downing Street meeting.


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