A Congress leader in Uttar Pradesh, Vinay Pradhan, was removed from all party positions as he allegedly used the phrase 'pappu' while praising party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
The Congress leader reportedly praised Rahul Gandhi's recent visit to violence-hit Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh in social media messages, but chose the word 'pappu' to refer to him.
'Pappu' is a term often used by Rahul Gandhi's critics to describe him.
According to The Times of India report, Vinay Pradhan, Congress' Meerut district president, allegedly used the word 'pappu' in a message sent on a WhatsApp group called 'Indian National Congress'.
The message, which soon went viral, read: "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 the road. Instead, he put his life on the line by going to Mandsaur".
According to The Times of India report, Ramkrishna Dwivedi, the chairman of the disciplinary committee, removed Vinay Pradhan from all party posts for the "provocative message".
In a letter announcing Vinay Pradhan's removal, Ramkrishna Dwivedi said, "This is an attempt to malign the party leadership. Other parties appear to be involved in this... Vinay Pradhan is guilty of violating the constitution of the Congress party".
Vinay Pradhan, however, said that the alleged messages were not sent by him and called it an attempt by some people in the Congress to "malign" him. "The screenshots being circulated have been photoshopped. I respect Rahul Gandhiji and would never use such a language for him," Pradhan said.