Britain’s prime ministerial candidate, Rishi Sunak, took some time out of a hectic campaign schedule to make a visit to a Hare Krishna temple on the outskirts of London to celebrate Janmashtami.
Sunak, 42, who swore his oath of allegiance on being elected member of Parliament in the House of Commons on the ‘Bhagavad Gita’, has often spoken about his Hindu faith giving him strength.
On Thursday, he was accompanied by wife Akshata Murty, daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy and author-philanthropist Sudha Murty, for darshan at Bhaktivedanta Manor in Watford, Hertfordshire.
“Today I visited the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple with my wife Akshata to celebrate Janmashtami, in advance of the popular Hindu festival celebrating Lord Krishna’s birthday,” Sunak tweeted with an image of the couple offering prayers.
Today I visited the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple with my wife Akshata to celebrate Janmashtami, in advance of the popular Hindu festival celebrating Lord Krishna’s birthday. pic.twitter.com/WL3FQVk0oU
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) August 18, 2022
Bhaktivedanta Manor is one of the UK’s leading International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) hubs, which was famously donated by Beatles musician George Harrison. The manor is dubbed a “spiritual sanctuary” spread over 78 acres of land with sprawling gardens, an organic farm, a protected herd of cows as well as a temple.
“Delighted to welcome today Rishi Sunak to Bhaktivedanta Manor temple in Hertsmere to celebrate Janmashtami, the Hindu Festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna. Wishing everyone in Hertsmere a very Happy Janmashtami,” said Oliver Dowden, Conservative Party MP for Hertsmere who is backing Sunak in the Tory leadership race.
Sunak, the UK-born son of NHS doctor Yashveer and pharmacist Usha Sunak, is a devout Hindu who counts lighting Diwali diyaas outside No. 11 Downing Street as Britain’s first Indian-origin Chancellor among one of his “proudest moments” in life.
The former finance minister is on a busy campaign trail across the UK in an effort to win over the votes of Tory members, who are in the process of casting their postal and online ballots in the election.
Sunak’s rival, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, is currently holding a firm lead in most recent surveys of the party membership. However, he has insisted that he “definitely” still has a shot at victory and is excited to keep going as he thinks his “ideas are the right ones” for the country.
The election is set to close on the evening of September 2, with the new Tory leader and British Prime Minister to succeed Boris Johnson confirmed on September 5.