Rishi Sunak launches campaign for UK PM’s post. So why are people complaining?

Rishi Sunak launches campaign for UK PM’s post. So why are people complaining?


The exit of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has shifted the focus on who gets to grab the top job, and one of the favourites is Indian-origin Rishi Sunak. Born to a pharmacist mother and a general-practitioner father, Sunak is also the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy. The 42-year-old is an Oxford University and Stanford graduate. Sunak has been in news for a lot of reasons, both right and wrong. And on Friday, he released the online campaign for the top post in the United Kingdom.

Rishi Sunak does not need much introduction anymore. It would be interesting to explore how his campaign is panning out. In brief, and within 24 hours from the launch of his campaign, the support or disdain for him could be broadly put in two boxes. One, in which he gains support for his Indian origin and the second, in which he has been criticised for his recent financial policies in which he did not reportedly do much to offer support to those struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. He was also on the radar of critics after it was revealed that his wife had evaded tax. However, her spokesperson cited a non-domicile status for the same — which is still being debated.

In his campaign, Sunak started with a story — the story of his grandmother who came to the UK with dreams and the country gave her wings, thus paving the way for his dreams to come true. He promised the same to others if they voted him to power.

“Someone has to grip this moment and make the right decisions. That’s why I am standing to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and your Prime Minister,” was his pitch in the campaign video. Soon, Twitter was filled with contrasting opinions on the MP from Richmond.

While the Indian diaspora celebrated history coming full circle, potentially, the others pointed out his mini-budget faults and how he is just a billionaire trying to masquerade as someone who understood the pain of the common people. However, there is also a high in some sections of an Indian-origin leader at the top post.

He launched his campaign with the hashtag ‘Ready for Rishi'(#Ready4Rishi). But the particular hashtag did not only attract support. A lot of handles used the same to express their dissatisfaction with Sunak.

Here’s what Twitterati not backing Rishi had to say.

I’m not #Ready4Rishi, neither are 3+ million #Excluded.
@RishiSunak is not the polished politician he wants you to believe. He’s a liar, a law breaker and he’s clueless about what is best for Britain. HE CANNOT BE THE NEXT PM. #NOTHANKS #NotReady4Rishi #FBEUA @OfficialEUA

These people think we have the memory of goldfish.
#Ready4Rishi ?
#JogOnRishi ????

Never mind #Ready4Rishi – the UK deserves so much better than a man who wilfully ignored 3.8m freelancers/small business owners in to poverty by refusing them any support throughout the pandemic #excludeduk

Rishi Sunak has had his branded logo and website ready to launch for months now hasn’t he
That’s what he has been spending all his time doing, rather than talking the cost of living crisis
A lot of work has gone into this #Ready4Rishi

#Ready4Rishi you’ve got to be joking, empathy free rich kid!
“Whatever it takes” unless you were one of 3 million+ self employed. Eat out to kill off,that went well! £4.3 billion in Covid fraud swept under carpet, and written off.Chancer of The Exchequer, when people needed help!

“Restore trust” – you stood by and let Johnson break it. “Rebuild the economy” – you’ve been in charge of it for the last 3 yearsyou broke it. A useless phoney in a smart suit, is no different to the useless phoney in a scruffy one, the one he wants to replace #ready4rishi

If these tweets were to be analysed, it becomes evident that not many were satisfied with the policies of the former UK finance minister and his credibility also seems to dwindle as he runs for the top post.

In response to the cost-of-living crisis, Sunak announced reductions in fuel duty and taxes on wages, including an income tax cut in 2024 in a budget update, telling parliament it represented the biggest net cut to personal taxes in over 25 years. But the measures were met with sharp criticism from opposition lawmakers and anti-poverty campaigners, Reuters reported.

“Rishi Sunak has prioritised rebuilding his tax-cutting credentials over supporting the low-to-middle income households who will be hardest hit from the surging cost of living,” said Torsten Bell, the Chief Executive of Resolution Foundation, a think-tank which focuses on living standards.

Britain’s budget watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, said Sunak undid only one-sixth of his previously announced tax rises aimed mainly at funding health and social care after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Newspapers, which had earlier touted him as a future successor to Boris Johnson, criticised him for not doing enough to support people on the lowest incomes. The Daily Express ran a headline: “The Forgotten Millions Say: What About Us?”

The Twitter criticism of Sunak also focused on the mentioned points, but it’s too soon to come to any conclusion. So here’s what those who supported his candidature had to say.

Rajan Jolly said, “Rishi is a humble and genuine person and we believe in his ideology! #RishiSunakournextPM #RishiSunak.”

Vinay Upadhyay said, “Rishi Sunak favorite to become the next PM of UK???? He is son in Law of Infosys’s Narayana Murty. If #RishiSunak becomes the next PM, then it is truly the history coming full circle. An Indian-Origin becoming the PM of the country that colonised it for 200 years.”

Love Indian Page said, “If It Happens, He Will Be 1st Indian-Origin Man To Be The Prime Minister Of UK ?? #RishiSunak”

Dhimant Purohit, “BREAKING: #RishiSunak to become next PM of UK
Rishi Sunak is son in Law of Infosys’s Narayana Murty. Indians going to rule UK.. Recall 1947″

Bulls & Bears posted, “There was a time when Britishers ruled India! Now, tables have turned! Indians will lead & India will emerge as Superpower! Time to change World Order! Welcome Rishi Sunak, as the new PM of UK! #BorisOut #rishisunak”

Going by the above posts, it becomes amply clear that Sunak, being of Indian-origin, took precedence over his policies because of the history of India under British rule and the thought of having a prime minister of Indian origin is a major high among the diaspora.

TOP LEADERS WHO HAVE SUPPORTED RISHI FOR THE PM POST

Mark Harper: Mark Harper is a British politician and member of the Conservative Party. He has been Member of Parliament for Forest of Dean since 2005.

Angela Richardson: Angela Richardson is a Conservative MP for Guildford.

Jacob Young: Jacob Young is a British Conservative Party politician who was elected as the member of Parliament for Redcar.

Mel Stride: Mel Stride is the Conservative MP for Central Devon.

Oliver Dowden: Oliver Dowden is the Conservative MP for Hertsmere.

Michael Gove: MP for Surrey Heath also supported Sunak’s campaign.

CAMPAIGN STATUS OF OTHER CONTENDERS

According to Business Insider, others are also eyeing the Prime Minister’s chair. “Penny Mordaunt, a trade minister, was preparing to launch a campaign with support from a number of senior MPs. Ben Wallace, the defence secretary who has been more recently seen as favourite, is yet to publicly declare. Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, is also yet to launch her campaign. Other possible names include Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Steve Baker.”

On Thursday, Boris Johnson was forced to resign after a flurry of resignations which also saw vital ministers Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid quit over ethical misconduct. But Johnson will stay in power unless another Tory leader is elected to the post. And hence started the run for the most crucial position.

READ | Rishi Sunak bids to replace Boris Johnson | Here’s how new UK PM will be selected

READ | What Boris Johnson’s exit means for Indian-origin contenders and for India

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