A senior Congress member from Uttar Pradesh has been removed from all party positions for purportedly referring to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi as “Pappu”, repeatedly, in a social media message meant to laud his recent attempt to visit Mandsaur following the death of five protesting farmers in police firing. “Pappu” is the term Rahul’s critics are known to use when denouncing him, especially on social media. Vinay Pradhan, the party’s Meerut district president, allegedly made the references in a message sent on a WhatsApp group titled ‘Indian National Congress’. The message sought to heap praise on Rahul for “putting the interest of the nation before his own”. But it said: “Pappu could have joined hands with Adani, Ambani and Mallya but he did not do that. Pappu could have been a minister or even the Prime Minister, but he did not go down that road. Instead, he put his life on the line by going to Mandsaur.” On Tuesday, Ramkrishna Dwivedi, chairman of the disciplinary committee in Congress, 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 said the message in question was not sent by him, and he wasn’t given an opportunity to explain himself. “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 photo-shopped. 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.   SIFY : 14th. June,17


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