An Indian artist paid tribute to Rishi Sunak on his appointment as prime minister by building a sand sculpture of him – but some think it looks more like former Labour prime minister Tony Blair.
Sudarsan Pattnayak, a specialist sand artist, made the sculpture on Puri Beach in Odisha, India, this week after Mr Sunak won the race to replace Liz Truss, who resigned after just six weeks in the job.
“Congratulations Rishi Sunak,” a message on the sculpture says. It includes a man dressed in a suit against the backdrop of a Union Jack flag.
But people commenting online said the sculpture looked more like Mr Blair, who was the UK prime minister from 1997 to 2007.
One said: “I didn’t know tony blair was serving another term.” Another added: “Oh hi Tony Blair”.
Mr Sunak became the first UK prime minister of South Asian heritage after forming a government on Tuesday and many Indians celebrated his accession to the highest office in the land.
He cemented his place in history by also becoming the youngest UK prime minister for more than 200 years.
His rise had made headlines in most Indian newspapers – alongside the Indian cricket team’s win over arch-rivals Pakistan in a T20 World Cup match late on Sunday.
The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, tweeted: “Warmest congratulations Rishi Sunak. As you become UK PM, I look forward to working closely together on global issues and implementing Roadmap 2030.
“Special Diwali wishes to the ‘living bridge’ of UK Indians, as we transform our historic ties into a modern partnership.”
The former chancellor is a practising Hindu. In 2020 he was photographed lighting candles outside No 11 Downing Street to celebrate Diwali – one of the most important dates in the Hindu
Mr Sunak was born in Southampton to parents of Punjabi-Indian descent who migrated to Britain from East Africa in the 1960s.