Congress leader AP Abdullakutty from Kerala on Tuesday courted controversy by praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s massive victory in the Lok Sabha elections. He made the remark in a Facebook post titled “On Narendra Modi’s impressive victory”.

The BJP won 303 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, 21 more than its tally in 2014. The National Democratic Alliance it leads has 352 seats in the Lower House. The Congress won just 52 seats, and its allies 39.

Abdullakutty claimed that the victory was a result of Modi’s development agenda, and his Gandhian values. The Congress leader praised the Centre’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. The government plans to provide five crore liquefied petroleum gas connections to women of families below poverty line through the Ujjwala scheme.

The Congress leader claimed that not only the Opposition, but even the BJP was surprised by the scale of Modi’s victory. “Mahatma Gandhi had told social workers that when you formulate a policy, you should remember the face of a poor man whom you have met,” he wrote. “Modi implemented it accurately.”

The two-time former MP said bullet trains, smart cities and other initiatives during Modi’s first term cannot be ignored. “Our politics is changing completely,” Abdullakutty added. “Victory is with development. When Modi is criticised, these facts should be remembered.”

He said political workers should keep aside their sentiments “and examine the results of the elections calmly”.

The Congress leader’s comments angered his colleagues. Mullapally Ramachandran, the president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, said stringent action should be taken against the former MP, PTI reported. Another Congress leader, K Muraleedharan, said Abdullakutty’s remarks were wrong as no Congress worker can praise Modi. “There is no compromise on this matter,” he added.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) sacked Abdullakutty in 2009 for praising Modi, who was then the chief minister of Gujarat. Abdullakutty, who was elected to Parliament from Kannur in 1999 and 2004, joined the Congress after that. CPI(M) leader and Kannur district secretary MV Jayarajan mocked Abdullakutty, saying he now wants to join the BJP.