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Author and Rishi Sunak’s mother-in-law Sudha Murty nominated to Indian parliament

Author and Rishi Sunak’s mother-in-law Sudha Murty nominated to Indian parliament

Indian author and philanthropist Sudha Murty, who is also British prime minister Rishi Sunak’s mother-in-law, has been nominated to India’s parliament.

Ms Murty, 73, was nominated to sit in parliament’s upper house – the Rajya Sabha – by India’s president Droupadi Murmu, prime minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday.

“Sudha Ji’s contributions to diverse fields including social work, philanthropy and education have been immense and inspiring...Wishing her a fruitful Parliamentary tenure,” Mr Modi said in a post on X.

Ms Murty’s nomination announcement came on International Women’s Day with the Indian prime minister calling her presence in the upper house “a powerful testament” to the empowerment of women in India.

The president nominates 12 members to parliament’s upper house, considering their contributions towards arts, literature, sciences, and social services.

Ms Murty, who is married to Narayana Murthy, the billionaire co-founder of tech giant Infosys, is an educator and philanthropist herself, and was a recipient of India’s third-highest civilian award – the Padma Bhushan – for her social work last year.

She started her career as an engineer. She is also the former chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. Mr Sunak is married to her daughter Akshata Murty.

Ms Murty said she was pleasantly surprised by Friday’s announcement and “doubly thrilled” to be presented the honour on Women’s Day.

“The announcement has come out of the blue. So, I am yet to chalk up my plans for my parliamentary tenure...I will see what best I can do to utilise this platform to work for the people of India,” she told The Hindu newspaper.

Ms Murty has appeared several times on Indian TV programmes.

Last year, appearing as a guest on The Kapil Sharma Show, she recalled an encounter with a UK immigration officer who refused to believe that her residential address in Britain was 10 Downing Street.

Just days before her appearance on the show, she sparked controversy when asked whether communal politics had taken precedence amid elections in the south Indian state of Karnataka.

The state witnessed communally charged politics before the elections with right-wing activists protesting against girls wearing the hijab.

Ms Murty’s remark that she did not “worry about those things” and that she was not “politically savvy” went viral on social media with many pointing out her privilege to not worry about issues affecting minorities in the country.