London, Nov 11 (PTI) British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, a “devout Hindu”, issued his greetings for Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas on Saturday expressing hope for a brighter tomorrow.
The 43-year-old leader referenced his Indian heritage in the customary festive message from 10 Downing Street for Hindus and Sikhs in the UK and around the world.
“Happy Diwali to all those celebrating around the world and across the UK, and a very happy Bandi Chhor Divas to our friends in the Sikh community,” said Sunak.
“With the lighting of the diyas, let this be a moment we can look to the future with hope. My guiding light as Prime Minister is the determination to change things for the better, and as a symbol of the triumph of light over darkness, I believe Diwali is a poignant representation of the endeavour for a brighter tomorrow,” he said.
“As your first British Asian Prime Minister, and a devout Hindu, I also hope this can be a celebration of the fantastic ethnic and cultural diversity which makes the UK the place it is today,” he added.
Earlier this week, he and wife Akshata Murty hosted a special Diwali reception at 10 Downing Street, attended by prominent members of the Indian diaspora and also Bollywood stars Akshay Kumar, Twinkle Khanna and Preity Zinta.
The Prime Ministerial office-cum-residence was decorated in a theme of vibrant marigolds, rangoli and candles on Wednesday evening as the UK's first couple marked a year since Sunak took charge as Britain’s first Prime Minister of Indian heritage.
A day later, on Thursday, entrepreneur and Noor Group of Hotels UK chief Roop Partap Choudhary said he was among a select group of guests at a special “Diwali Milan” hosted by the first couple at their Downing Street residence.
"It's an immense honour to represent not just myself but also my hometown Karnal and the incredible Indian hospitality industry on such a prestigious platform," said Choudhary, who is preparing to launch the second branch of the popular Colonel Saab Indian restaurant at Trafalgar Square in London later this month. PTI AK SCY