Resembling a scene straight out of a rom-com, Rishi Sunak, the first Indian ever to be in the running for the prime minister of the UK, thanked his wife, Akshata Murthy, for dumping her heels for him, a short kid with a backpack.
He said, “You know what you mean to me, and I am incredibly grateful that 18 years ago you chose to give up your high heels and take a chance on the short kid with a backpack.”
Rishi Sunak thanked wife Akshata, as well as his parents for their support throughout his campaign. Sunak was addressing the 12th and final hustings at a concert venue in London’s Wembley. The winner will be announced on Monday.
He talked about his “incredibly, loving, kind wife” Akshata and harked back to their love story as Stanford University students in the US. Akshata is the daughter of Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy and author Sudha Murthy.
Sunak, thanking his parents, said, “This final hustings is special for me because the two people who inspired me to enter public service are actually here tonight– my mum and dad.” Following this, the camera focused on Sunak’s parents– Yashvir and Usha– and Akshata Murthy.
Sunak also talked at length about how his parents led by example and taught him the value of hard work.
He noted, “It was their example of service and what they did for people that inspired me to enter politics. Mum, dad thank you for always sacrificing and striving to provide a better life for your kids than you had. And, thank you for teaching me that with hard work and belief and the love of your family there is no limit to what someone can achieve in our great country.”
His address at the event was followed up by a question-and-answer session in which an audience comprising voters and political enthusiasts fielded questions.
Responding to a question on his greatest sacrifice to be in the running for the UK Prime Minister, he said, “The greatest sacrifice I have made is that I have been an appalling husband and father for the past couple of years, it’s as simple as that.”
Sunak added this was hard on him as he loved his wife and children “to bits”, while noting he hasn’t been able to be as present in his wife and children’s lives as he’d wished. He furthermore stated, “But that’s because I believe it’s an enormous privilege to have these jobs. I care passionately about our country and think I can offer something that will benefit millions of people, that’s why I do it and I am really blessed to have their support as I do.”
Sunak is one of the frontrunners in the first leg of the contest for 10 Downing Street when his colleagues voted him in as a finalist. Despite this, he has been trailing in pre-poll surveys. He said, “I’ve not chosen to say the things that people may want to hear, I’ve said the things I believe our country needs to hear.”
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