British Prime Minister Theresa May along with her husband Philip has paid a visit to the Swaminarayan Mandir in north-west London, the largest Hindu temple outside India, days ahead of the UK general election to be held on June 8. May, 60, visited the temple in Neasden and offered flower petals at the central shrine of Bhagwan Swaminarayan yesterday, a temple spokesperson said. After meeting young and old volunteers of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, she also met with leaders of other Hindu organisations, the spokesperson said.
In a 20-minute speech, May told around 2,000 worshippers to help her make Britain the “world’s great meritocracy”. “I say to all British Hindus and Indians, come with me as we make Britain the world’s great meritocracy. Come with me as we build a truly global Britain, and help me build those vital links with India. Come with me as we build a stronger, fairer and more prosperous vision for us all,” she said.
May also praised UK-Indians for being “inspiring role models across all walks of life” and said their achievements were built “on the very best of British and Indian values”. May was accompanied by her husband Philip and both removed their shoes before entering the temple, the spokesperson said, adding that she was presented with a traditional memento before her departure.
May visited the temple for the second time yesterday. In March 2013, she was the guest of honour and keynote speaker to mark International Women’s Day. The visit came during May’s last weekend campaigning as the UK gears up to vote in the snap general election she called earlier this year on June 8.