Irish connection thrills Varad

Leo Varadkar may be next Ireland PM and his dad hails from the hamlet.

Mumbai: Varad, a small hamlet in Sindhudurg district, has suddenly found itself in the limelight after the news of Leo Varadkar contesting for the prime ministerial election in Ireland broke out. The village has been excited over the prospect of one of its sons holding the topmost post of the Irish state.

Leo Varadkar, a doctor by profession, leads the race to become Ireland’s next prime minister. Currently working as a welfare minister in the Irish government, he reportedly enjoys good support in the ruling Fine Gael party and its ministers. He will face housing minister Simon Coveney in party’s leadership election for Prime Minister post. The elections will be held on June 2.

The 38-year-old Indian-origin politician is the youngest child of Ashok Varadkar, whose forefathers hail from Varad in Maharashtra. The Varadkar family also has its ancestral home and farmland in Varad, which they had reconstructed a couple of years back.

Mr Varadkar’s likely coronation has aroused media’s interest in Varad village. The news channels and media personnel have already visiting the village, and the trend is likely to increase further if Mr Varadkar becomes the next Irish premier.

Residents of Varad offer prayers at a local temple for Varadkar to win the Prime Ministership.Residents of Varad offer prayers at a local temple for Varadkar to win the Prime Ministership.

“Earlier people knew little about Varad. But after Leo’s news broke out, media has suddenly diverted its attention to our village. We are proud of him,” said Keshav Parulekar, deputy Sarpanch of Varad.

The villagers are praying for Leo’s victory in the Irish prime ministerial election. To pledge their support, they have also offered a ‘garhana’ (vow) to the village deity ‘Vetoba’ for his success. A ‘garhana’ is a vow offered in local Malvani dialect to arouse God.

“We have grand plans to celebrate Leo’s victory. The entire village and temple will be illuminated, and firecrackers and sweets have been kept ready to rejoice,” said Rajan Mangaonkar, a villager.

“Despite being scattered all over the places for making fortunes, Varadkars have a deep attachment to their village,” said Leo’s cousin brother Vasant Varadkar, who looks after the family’s assets in the village. He added, “We have a joint family, whose members visit the village regularly.”

Ashok Varadkar, who is also a doctor, completed his early years of primary education in Varad before moving to Mumbai. He went to England for higher education and met Leo’s mother Miriam, a nurse, in the 1970s. After marriage, they decided to settle down in Dublin, where Leo was born. “Though Leo has not visited Varad yet, we are hoping that he will come here after becoming Irish Prime Minister. His father visits Varad once or twice in a year,” said Vasant Varadkar.

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