Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and credited him for his party’s victory in the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, NDTV reported.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a man of tremendous vigour and dynamism and has done some things which are very impressive, especially politically,” Tharoor said. “We did not expect him to win with such great margins but he did.”

Tharoor, however, also accused the prime minister of unleashing communal forces in the country, Hindustan Times reported.

“He [Modi] has unleashed such forces in the society that are dividing our nation on communal and religious grounds which according to me is introducing a toxin that is unfortunate,” he said.

Tharoor made the remarks during an interactive session at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

The Bharatiya Janata Party won the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election by a huge margin, bagging 255 seats in the 403-member Assembly. The Samajwadi Party came second with 111 seats, while the Congress won just two seats.

The BJP also won in three other states – Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand.

During Sunday’s interaction, Tharoor said that many people had not expected the BJP to retain power for a second term in Uttar Pradesh, according to NDTV.

“The Indian voter has the capacity to surprise,” Tharoor said. “And one day, they will also surprise the BJP. But right now they have given the BJP what they wanted.”

On the performance of the Congress, Tharoor praised the party’s leader in charge of Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, for a “remarkable and energetic campaign”, according to NDTV.

“From my point of view, I don’t think that the Congress per se can be faulted on the grounds of one person’s campaigning,” he said. “I think the issues are rather larger for the party as well as for party viability in some states where our presence has been systematically going down over the last 30 years.”