A Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh who was suspended last month for referring to party vice-president Rahul Gandhi as “Pappu” on a WhatsApp group, has been expelled from the party for six years. He was the Congress chief of Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district.
Vinay Pradhan, who claimed to have quit the party earlier this week, was today expelled by Ramkrishna Dwivedi, the disciplinary committee chairman of Uttar Pradesh Congress, said party spokesman Dwijendra Tripathi.
Mr. Dwivedi had then stated that Mr. Pradhan’s guilt was proved and he had violated the constitution of the Congress party.
Mr Pradhan, at a press conference on Wednesday, said it was Rahul Gandhi and the “sycophants around him” that were helping to bring about “some party’s dream of a ‘Congress-free’ India”, adding, “A person who cannot understand his praise is really a ‘Pappu’ (young boy) and I have no qualms in calling him that”.
Mr. Pradhan landed himself in trouble on June 14 when he, in a series of WhatsApp messages meant to praise Rahul Gandhi, referred to him as “Pappu” – a disparaging name bestowed on him by supporters of the BJP. The message was sent to a group of Congress party members, following which Raj Babbar, the party chief of Uttar Pradesh, had removed him from the party post.
“Pappu could have been a minister or even the prime minister, but he did not go down that road,” his purported message had said, adding that instead, the Congress vice-president chose to go to Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh, where five protesting farmers were killed in police firing.
He had later said the messages were “a mistake” by a team member who handles his social media. “I was removed from all party posts without even hearing my side of the story,” Mr. Pradhan said.
Mr. Gandhi, who was in Italy for over two weeks to meet his 93-year-old grandmother, returned to India today evening. His visit abroad came at a time when Congress President and mother Sonia Gandhi was building consensus to field a joint opposition candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections, scheduled for July 17.
Reproduction Of PTI.