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No Fear No Favour

Election Commission censor “Pappu” after Congress objects on BJP using same in election ad

Fumed over the latest advertisement by the Bhartiya Janata Party in Gujarat for taking the word “Pappu”, which apparently target the Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, the Election Commission has asked the BJP in Gujarat to drop the word. Giving the verdict on the same, the EC said to BJP that the term is “derogatory”. Though, the party insists that it never linked it to any individual.

“Pappu” is a name BJP supporters use to mock Rahul Gandhi on social media. Earlier this year, a Congress dissident was caught using the name, which loosely translates to “fool or simpleton”

If insiders from BJP are to be believed, the BJP has sent a script for its election ad titled “Kirana (Grocery)” to the media committee of the State Election Commission for approval. One of the characters in the ad goes by the name of “Pappu”when he visits the grocery store, staff comments: “Sir pappu bhai aaye lagte hain (seems Pappu has come)”.

Earlier this month, the BJP appealed against that decision to the top election officer in Gujarat. But the Commission’s reply was the same.

A senior BJP leader said that “If the party has to make any election-related advertisement, a script of the same has to be sent to the committee to get it cleared. However, they raised the objection to the word “Pappu”, terming it as derogatory. The committee has asked us to remove or replace the word”.

Adding further, the leader said that the party is in a mood to replace the word and submit a new script for the Election Commission’s approval. “Since there was no direct mention or linkage with any person while mentioning ‘Pappu’ in the entire script, we had appealed to the committee to reconsider their decision, but they rejected it,” he said.

The Election Commission’s report objection to the BJP poll ad in Gujarat quickly fuelled the battle of the words on social media, with supporters of Congress and the BJP taking swipes at each other. Soon, “Pappu” and “#PappuCensored” become trending topics on Twitter.

Gujarat will vote on December 9 and 14 and the results will be declared on December 18. Rahul Gandhi has campaigned aggressively in the state to try and prevent another win for the BJP, which has ruled Gujarat for 22 years.

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