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Conservative Party leadership and UK prime minister contender Rishi Sunak visited the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple in Hertfordshire with his wife Akshata Murty ahead of Janmashtami – Lord Krishna’s birthday.

Sunak and Murty sought blessings from Lord Krishna on the auspicious day as Tory Party members voted to pick their next leader and the prime minister.

“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 said on his social media posts.

Sunak, the Indian-origin MP of Richmond (Yorks), has earlier gained the affection of Indians across the country as well those living abroad when he celebrated Diwali during his tenure as chancellor to the exchequer under outgoing prime minister Boris Johnson.

The former UK finance minister lit diyas outside his doorstep to mark the auspicious occasion and became the first UK minister to do so. Sunak earlier has said that he is a practising Hindu.

In the recent weeks, Sunak has also earned the support of Hindu communities and associations based out of India. Some UK residents earlier this month organised a havan praying for Sunak’s success. Rishi Sunak also received a boost to his electoral campaign from the US as Conservative Hindu group Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC) also endorsed him in the same month.

Sunak, however, faces tough competition from foreign secretary Liz Truss as a Sky News poll showed that Liz Truss has a 32-point lead over her rival. At least 34% Tory members said they would vote for Rishi Sunak while at least 66% said they would vote for Truss.

At least 57% of respondents who participated in the Sky News poll have cast their votes and 38% are yet to. Among those who have cast their votes, 68% chose Truss and 31% voted for Rishi Sunak.

At least 44% of the respondents who are yet to cast their votes told Sky News that they would vote for Liz Truss and 29% are backing Rishi Sunak. At least 26% respondents were unsure regarding who to vote for and remain undecided.

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