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The Uttar Pradesh Congress has suspended a senior leader from all party posts after he purportedly referred to Rahul Gandhi as "Pappu", in a Whatsapp post that otherwise lauded his attempts to reach out to farmers in Mandsaur.
Meerut Congress district president Vinay Pradhan has been removed from all posts, elected and nominated, for his "insulting and provocative" message, chairman of the party's disciplinary committee, Ramkrishna Dwivedi said in a letter.
"This is an attempt to malign the party leadership. Other parties appear to be involved in this. It is an effort to divert attention from the main issues, like the plight of farmers and the movement in support of them," Dwivedi said in the letter.
Pradhan's guilt has been proved and he has been found violating the constitution of Congress party, he said.
Pradhan had purportedly referred to Rahul Gandhi as "Pappu", in the social media message that lauded the Congress vice president's recent attempt to visit Mandsaur following the death of five protesting farmers in firing there.
The message on a whatsapp group of the party sought to heap praise on Gandhi for "putting the interest of the nation before his own".
But it purportedly also said that "Pappu" could have joined hands with Adani, Ambani and Mallya, though he did not do that.
Pappu could have been a minister or even the Prime Minister, but he did not go down that road, the message allegedly said, adding that instead, he chose to go to Mandsaur.
According to party sources, Pradhan has stated that the message in question was not sent by him, and he wasn't given an opportunity to explain himself.
"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 is learnt to have said.