UK politician Barry Gardiner of the Labour Party has drawn criticism for a gushing tweet praising Narendra Modi, who looks set to win another five-year term as prime minister.
The shadow secretary of state for international trade congratulated the leader on his message of celebrating “India’s diversity” – despite Modi being a Hindu nationalist who faces accusations of discriminating against the Muslim minority under his rule.
Gardiner said in the tweet: “As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wins a second term we congratulate him for his message: ‘Our alliance represents India’s diversity and our agenda is India’s progress.’ celebrating the country’s diversity.
“I look forward to deepening our friendship and trade.”
Ethnic tensions in India have risen since Modi won his first term as PM in 2014 and Hindu “cow-vigilante” groups have killed 36 Muslims over differences in how the animals are treated by the two faiths.
Modi’s government and security forces have been accused of standing by and allowing attacks to happen or of failing to prosecute those responsible.
Many Muslims talk of leaving the country in fear of a Modi election victory.
Gardiner’s tweet drew swift condemnation for praising Modi without calling out the issues with his leadership.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading in over 300 seats, with the opposition Congress party ahead in just 51 seats.
The election has been seen as a referendum on Modi, whose economic reforms have had mixed results but whose popularity in India has endured.