A senior Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh has been sacked from all party positions for repeatedly calling Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi ‘Pappu’ in a message on WhatsApp, reports said on Wednesday.
According to a report in Times of India, the social message massage was meant to praise Rahul Gandhi for his recent attempt to visit Mandsaur following the death of farmers in police firing during protests.
Rahul’s critics have been using ‘Papu’ term when mocking him, especially on social media. Vinay Pradhan, Congress’ Meerut district president, allegedly referred Rahul as ‘Pappu’ in a message sent on a WhatsApp group titled 'Indian National Congress', the report said.
The message sought to laud Rahul for "putting the interest of the nation before his own". Ramkrishna Dwivedi, chairman of the disciplinary committee in Congress on Monday issued a letter announcing Pradhan’s removal from all party posts for the "provocative" message.
"This is an attempt to malign the party leadership. Other parties appear to be involved in this. It is also an effort to divert attention from the main issues, like the plight of farmers in Madhya Pradesh," he said in the letter, adding, "Vinay Pradhan is guilty of violating the constitution of Congress party."
Pradhan clarified that the message was not sent by him. "This is an effort by some people in the party to malign me. I have not sent any such message. The screenshots being circulated have been photoshopped. I respect Rahul Gandhiji and would never use such language for him. The party should have at least heard me out before removing me from all posts. I am seeking an appointment with him and will explain the matter to him," he said.