New Delhi: Two days after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, former Congress MLA from Kerala, A.P. Abdullakutty on Wednesday joined the BJP.
He was inducted into the party by its working president J.P. Nadda.
Among those who were present when he arrived at the BJP parliamentary party office were Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, and Keralite businessman-turned-BJP Rajya Sabha member Rajiv Chandrasekhar, who was instrumental in roping in the former CPI-M and Congress leader into the party.
Soon after being inducted, 52-year-old Abdullakutty said by joining the BJP, he has become a "national Muslim".
"I said I have now become a 'national Muslim' because patriotism is part of our belief. The aim of my joining the BJP is to act as the bridge between the Muslims and the BJP, especially in south India, where there is a gap between the two," he said.
Beginning his political career from the CPI-M's student wing, Abdullakutty achieved prominence by defeating present Kerala Congress chief Mullapally Ramachandran twice - in 1999 and 2004 - from the Kannur Lok Sabha seat.
In 2009, the CPI-M sacked him from the party amid mounting differences and also because he praised Modi's Gujarat development model.
He won the Kannur Assembly by-election as a Congress candidate and repeated his victory in 2011, but in 2016, lost the polls from the Thalassery seat.
"I was ousted by the CPI-M and the Congress for praising the development process set out by Modi. These parties might be happy they have ousted me. They are thinking that if they oppose Modi, then the minority communities will support them. What they fail to realize is under Modi, India will soon become a super power and for the past several days, I have got huge support from several quarters," said Abdullakutty.
The two-time MLA was removed from the Congress on June 3 after he said Modi was following the Gandhian model of governance. When he was served a show-cause notice by the party, Abdullakutty failed to give a "satisfactory explanation for his remark".