UK PM race: Rishi Sunak could become 6th Indian-Origin 'Head Of State' if voted to power; check details and list here

Rishi Sunak is holding firm as the frontrunner with 118 votes from Tuesday's secret ballot.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 06:47 PM IST
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Rishi Sunak | PTI Photo

The hottest day in history may be over but the heat of the Conservative Party leadership battle intensified on Wednesday as Tory lawmakers cast their last round of votes to determine the final two candidates in the race to replace Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister.

Rishi Sunak is holding firm as the frontrunner with 118 votes from Tuesday's secret ballot.

Sunak, the Indian-origin former UK Chancellor, retained the lead in the fourth round of voting on Tuesday to succeed Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

While the British Indian former Chancellor is almost confirmed as one of the final two candidates, the battle for the second spot between Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has become increasingly heated as questions arise over how the latter gained 15 more votes to hit 86.

According to an NDTV report, if Sunak wins the race and voted as the Prime Minister, the UK will become the sixth country in the world where a person of Indian descent will be holding the highest position.

A comprehensive list has been released by Indiaspora, a US-based non-profit organisation representing the community globally.

Here are some prominent names on the list:

  1. Antonio Costa, prime minister, Portugal

  2. Mohamed Irfaan, president, Guyana

  3. Pravind Jugnauth, prime minister, Mauritius

  4. Prithvirajsing Roopun, president, Mauritius

  5. Chandrikapersad Santokhi, president, Suriname

  6. Kamala Harris, vice president, United States

Apart from these countries, Trinidad & Tobago, Portugal, Malaysia, Fiji, Ireland and Seychelles has also chosen an Indian-origin head of state.

Rigging allegations:

Meanwhile, there has been intense speculation over tactical voting and even rigging.

David Davis, a former Brexit minister and Mordaunt supporter, claimed that the Sunak camp had reallocated votes from Tugendhat to Truss to stop the trade minister reaching the final two as the Foreign Secretary's economic plans are seen as easier to counter for the former finance minister.

Will Sunak win?

A YouGov survey of 725 Conservative Party members over Monday and Tuesday showed Truss would beat Sunak by 54 per cent to 35 per cent, and Mordaunt would also beat him 51 per cent to 37 per cent.

Sunak's popularity among his parliamentary party colleagues is not reflecting equally strongly with the wider Tory membership, who will have the final say in postal ballots.

There is also some concern that Sunak's prospect to replace Boris Johnson could be hit by the Conservative Campaign Headquarters' decision to send out those ballot papers early next month before the bulk of the campaign hustings have been held.

Boris Johnson, the scandal-ridden outgoing leader, resigned earlier this month, triggering an unseemly fight within the ruling Conservative Party to replace him.

(with PTI inputs)

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