Blair switch project: Indian artist honours Rishi Sunak with sand sculpture…but it looks more like former Labour leader
- Sudarsan Pattnayak, a specialist sand artist, made the sculpture in India
- The renowned sand artist designed the image himself, complete with Union Jack
- Used red and blue lettering for design, latest way to hail Sunak’s appointment
An Indian artist has celebrated Rishi Sunak’s appointment as prime minister by designing a sand sculpture of him, but some think it looks more like former Labour leader Tony Blair.
Sudarsan Pattnayak, a specialist sand artist, made the sculpture on Puri Beach in Odisha, India.
The large design, created by Mr Pattnayak himself, is complete with an image of Rishi Sunak in front of a Union Jack.
Mr Pattnayak used red and blue lettering for the beach sculpture, the latest way of honouring the new prime minister’s appointment in India.
Sudarsan Pattnayak, a specialist sand artist, made the sculpture on Puri Beach in Odisha, India, pictured
The large sculpture, designed by Mr Pattnayak himself, pictured, is complete with an image of Rishi Sunak in front of a Union Jack
But some are sceptical about the likeness of the sculpture to Mr Sunak. Online, comparisons have been drawn between the image and Tony Blair
But some are sceptical about the likeness of the sculpture to Mr Sunak.
Online, comparisons have been drawn between the image and Tony Blair.
Mr Blair was the former leader of the Labour Party and prime minister from 1997 to 2007.
One person wrote: ‘Oh hi Tony Blair’ while another said ‘IS TONY BLAIR BEHIND THIS.’
Others quipped: ‘I didn’t know Tony Blair was serving another term’ and ‘Call me Tony (Rishi).’
People came to see and take photographs of the new sculpture, pictured, after it was designed by Mr Pattnayak
A visitor photographs the image of Mr Sunak in Puri Beach, India, pictured
Sudarsan Pattnayak, the sand artist, pictured, who made the sculpture as his own way of congratulating Mr Sunak
It comes after Rishi’s success was splashed across national newspapers in India, hailing his new role.
And prime minister Narendra Modi did not wait for Sunak to be officially appointed, sending congratulations to him via Twitter on Monday.
‘As you become UK PM, I look forward to working closely together on global issues,’ Mr Modi wrote.
‘Special Diwali wishes to the ‘living bridge’ of UK Indians, as we transform our historic ties into a modern partnership,’ he added.
Mr Sunak is married to an Indian, Akshata Murty, the daughter of the co-founder of IT giant Infosys.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi did not wait for Sunak, pictured, to be officially appointed, sending congratulations via Twitter on Monday
Mr Sunak is married to an Indian, Akshata Murty, the daughter of the co-founder of IT giant Infosys. Pictured: With King Charles in February
Elsewhere, the president of Rishi Sunak’s home temple in Southampton said the UK is undergoing its own ‘Barack Obama’ moment with him becoming PM.
Sanjay Chandarana, president of the Vedic Society Temple – which Mr Sunak’s grandfather co-founded 50 years ago – also said his elevation to Prime Minister meant more fireworks would be needed for Diwali celebrations on the 24th October and that Mr Sunak would be an ‘inspiration for youngsters’.
Parliamentarian Raghav Chadha tweeted on Monday: ‘Today, as India celebrates Diwali in its 75th year as an independent nation, the UK gets an Indian-origin Prime Minister. History comes full circle.’
With his victory coming on Diwali, Mr Sunak will be the UK’s first Hindu prime minister, the first of Asian heritage, and the youngest for more than 200 years at the age of 42.
‘It is a moment of pride for India that the country which ruled us for many years has now a prime minister of Indian heritage,’ said Manoj Garg, a New Delhi businessman.
Mr Sunak will be the first person of colour to become prime minister, an accomplishment reflecting that of Kamala Harris, a woman of Indian heritage who became US vice president last year.
Former Bihar state government chief secretary Dr M.A. Ibrahimi tweeted: ‘Rishi Sunak is now set to be elected leader of Conservative Party to become UK PM. All Indians are proud of his achievement.’
Tory former Cabinet minister Sajid Javid said Rishi Sunak becoming the first prime minister of Asian heritage is ‘something we can all celebrate’.
President of the Vedic Society Temple Sanjay Chandarana (pictured) said that Mr Sunak would be an ‘inspiration for youngsters’
Mr Sunak will be the first person of colour to become prime minister, an accomplishment reflecting that of Kamala Harris, a woman of Indian heritage who became US vice president last year (Pictured: Vedic Society Temple in Southampton)
‘I’ve always believed the UK is the most successful multiracial democracy on earth – and I think this takes it to a new level,’ he told ITV’s Peston.
‘This is beyond politics and it’s something we can all celebrate.’
Mr Chandarana, 41, who works at an investment bank in London, said: ‘We are going to need more fireworks now,
‘Rishi becoming prime minister is Great Britain’s Barack Obama moment,’ he said.
‘This will be a proud moment for everyone who is Hindu. We are no longer just a community that is not part of the mainstream, we are part of the mainstream.’
Citizen TV in Kenya also drew comparisons with Obama’s rise to the White House.
Indian TV channels celebrated Sunak’s victory, with New Delhi Television announcing ‘Indian son rises over the empire’.
Former Bihar state government chief secretary Dr M.A. Ibrahimi tweeted: ‘Rishi Sunak is now set to be elected leader of Conservative Party to become UK PM. All Indians are proud of his achievement’
India Today news channel took a jibe at the UK’s economic and political turbulence, using the Hindi term for someone of Indian background: ‘Battered Britain gets ‘desi’ big boss.’
Some said Mr Sunak’s selection was particularly special for the country with its recent celebration of 75 years of independence from British colonial rule.
Others celebrated Mr Sunak as a ‘proud Hindu’, saying he did not shy away from embracing his faith and Indian culture.
They shared videos on Twitter showing Mr Sunak taking his oath of allegiance in 2020 on the Hindu holy book Bhagvad Gita.
Other videos shared on Twitter showed Mr Sunak praying to a cow, considered holy by Hindus, when he was running for Britain’s top job for the first time in August.
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