Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has been derided by right-wing trolls and some BJP leaders as 'pappu'. But when the Meerut district president of the Congress, Vinay Pradhan, called him by that name, albeit to praise him, he was removed from all party positions.
Pradhan seems to have called Gandhi 'pappu' several times in a message to the party's local WhatsApp group.
The Hindu quoted the message as saying, "Rahul Gandhi is also known as Pappu by a section of people in this country. People of this country are witness to the fact that Pappu has never taken to lavish life style. Pappu never took part in the parties thrown by industrialists like Adani and Ambani because Pappu knew he would that these people would only exploit the common people's resources. Pappu could have easily become the Prime Minister of this country but he did not."
The message did not go down well with the some members of the party, and a complaint was written to senior party leaders seeking Pradhan's removal.
Chairman of the Congress disciplinary committee, Ramkrishna Dwivedi, announced Pradhan's removal in a letter.
The Times of India quoted the letter as saying, "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."
The term 'pappu' came around sometime during the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections where Gandhi was severely criticised for not being able to live up to his position at the time. Trolls used the word to address Gandhi implying that the Congress leader was not smart enough to do is his job.
However, Pradhan, removed from his posts, has denied having sent any such message.
He told The Times of India that the screenshot of the message being circulated was photoshopped and that he respected 'Rahul Gandhiji' and had not intention of using such language against him.
Pradhan also alleged that the party did not give him a chance to explain himself.
Also on HuffPost India