Many Indians are delighted at the prospect of Rishi Sunak becoming the first person of Indian origin to become British prime minister, just as Hindus across the world celebrate Diwali.
Sunak was set to take the top job after his rivals Boris Johnson and Penny Mordaunt withdrew from the race to replace Liz Truss as leader of the Conservative Party.
Truss quit after a month and a half as her support evaporated and Sunak was poised to formally take over as prime minister later on Monday or Tuesday.
Sunak’s expected rise to the premiership had already made it to the front pages of most Indian newspapers – alongside the Indian cricket team’s win over arch-rivals Pakistan in a T20 World Cup match late on Sunday.
Some Indians said on social media that Sunak becoming prime minister this year would be even more special as India recently celebrated 75 years of its independence from British colonial rule.
“This (Diwali) is very special for India’s magnificent cricket victory and in all likelihood, Rishi Sunak, a person of Indian origin, a practising Hindu and our own Narayana Murthy’s son-in-law, becoming prime minister of UK,” Chennai resident D. Muthukrishnan wrote on Twitter, referring to the founder of Indian software giant Infosys Ltd.
“Rishi Sunak took oath as an MP on (Hindu holy book) Bhagavad Gita.
“If he repeats the same for taking oath as prime minister, what a day it is for India, that too on our 75th year of independence from Britain.”
Former British Chancellor of the Exchequer, or finance minister, Sunak, 42, is a practising Hindu and is known to celebrate the festival of lights.
He has also been photographed lighting candles outside No 11 Downing Street to mark the occasion.