Here’s how Irish Prime Minister-elect Leo Varadkar’s family celebrated in Mumbai
Till 11pm on Friday, 93-year-old Manohar Varadkar and 50 of his relatives were glued to the television screen in his Borivli house. They were waiting for the news declaring Varadkar’s nephew as the Prime Minister-elect of Ireland.
When the news broke, the house erupted in celebrations. The Varadkar family burst crackers and cut a cake to celebrate Leo Varadkar’s victory. The family also distributed sweets among their neighbours as residents from the colony trooped into the house to congratulate them.
Leo, 38, and openly gay, became Ireland’s first Prime Minister-elect of Indian descent and the youngest one.
“I am extremely proud of Leo. My nephew is doing so well and has made the family name famous across the world,” said Manohar. “We are a close-knit family and we get together during special events. This is a special moment for us and we hope for the best for Leo.”
A member of the Irish Fine Gael party, Leo has served as minister of social protection since May last year. He has also served as Ireland’s minister of transport, tourism and sport, and health.
One of Leo’s cousins, Shubhada Varadkar, 54, said, “It is a big day for our family. We have conveyed our love and best wishes to Leo’s parents.” She also said that that the family had a history of political leaders, social reformers and freedom fighters. “My father was a freedom fighter, my eldest uncle Madhukar was a social reformer and mayor at Varad,” said Shubhada.
“Leo was born in Dublin, Ireland, after my uncle (Ashok Varadkar) moved there for further studies in medicine and married Irish national, Miriam,” she said.
Shubhada described Leo as a bright student who loved reading and was always hungry for knowledge. “The first time I went to Ireland, he asked me so many questions about India and its history. A year later, I took the book, Discovery of India, for him but realised that he already knew much more about India than I had expected,” she said. “His curiosity about politics, social issues and being a good spokesperson made him overcome hurdles and make him what he is today.”