Who is Rishi Sunak? The Young Indian Origin Businessman-Turned-Politician

From head-boy, to heading two hedge fund managing companies, to becoming the Chancellor of the Exchequer and now enroute to becoming UK's first Indian-origin Prime Minister. Mr. Sunak has come a long way in a short time. But will he make it to the top? Read ahead to learn more about Rishi Sunak.

Who is Rishi Sunak?

Born on 19 May 1980 in Southampton, Rishi finds his origins in India, where his grandparents used to live. His mother was born in Tanzania and father was born in Kenya who later migrated to the UK in the 1960s. While his father was a general practitioner, his mother was a pharmacist, who ran a local pharmacy.

Rishi went to the Westminster boarding school for boys, where he was the head boy and the editor of the school paper. He also waited tables at a curry house in Southampton and later graduated from Oxford university, studying Philosophy, Political Science and Economics with a first-class degree. He then went on to pursue MBA from Stanford, where he met Akansha Murthy, daughter of Infosys’ co-founder Narayan Murthy. They lived in California but later returned to Britain, where Rishi started working at Goldman Sachs. He later went on to work for two Hedge fund management companies, making millions, while still in his 20’s.

Rishi is a proud Indian and has been found embracing his hinduness with pride on many occasions. Even when he took the oath as a MP, he took the oath under the Bhagavad Gita, he said “I am now a citizen of Britain. But my religion is Hindu. My religious and cultural heritage is Indian. I proudly say that I am a Hindu and my identity is also a Hindu.”

Political Career

Sunak was elected as a member of parliament (MP) in 2014 from Richmond (Yorks) for the conservatives. The seat was considered one of the safest seats to contest the elections from as the conservatives had managed to retain power in the constituency for 100 years. Rishi won by a big margin.

Sunak supported the UK leaving the European Union (EU) in the June 2016 membership referendum. That year, he wrote a report for the Centre for Policy Studies (a Thatcherite think tank) supporting the establishment of free ports after Brexit, and the following year wrote a report advocating for the creation of a retail bond market for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Sunak was then re-elected as MP in the 2017 general election, with an increased majority of 23,108 (40.5%)

Sunak was appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 24 July 2019 and served under Chancellor Sajid Javid until February 2020. After which, Sunak was promoted to Chancellor of the Exchequer on 13 February 2020 as part of a cabinet reshuffle, after the resignation of his predecessor, Javid, on the same day. This made him the first Hindu to hold this position.

Road to The PM’s Office

Rishi gained popularity for introducing a £350 Billion financial rescue package, at a time when the UK was battling with COVID-19 and was in desperate need of a savior. It was reported that Rishi’s expensive move received more praise than hate and his Job Retention Programme also averted mass unemployment. According to BBC, this move led to a tremendous rise in his personal poll ratings.

Given the turbulent tenure of ex-UK PM Boris Johnson, it was only evident that he would have to step down. Mass resignations of around 50 ministers who followed Rishi’s resignation in the last week prompted Boris Johnson to resign from his post. Following which, Rishi announced his ambitions to contest for the post of Prime Minister. Although, it will still take us 2-3 months to know if the UK will have its first Indian Origin PM or not.