The Congress party has removed its Meerut district president Vinay Pradhan from all party positions for allegedly using the phrase ‘Pappu’ while praising party vice president Rahul Gandhi in a WhatsApp group message.

“Pappu”, which means ‘a young boy’, is used by Rahul’s critics while denouncing him.

Vinay Pradhan made the reference in a message sent on ‘Indian National Congress’ WhatsApp group to laud Rahul for his recent attempt to visit violence-hit Mandsaur.

“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,” the message read.

According to a report in The Hindu, Pradhan was removed after Congress spokesperson Abhimanyu Tyagi wrote to State party chief Raj Babbar. Chairman of the disciplinary committee, Ramshankar Dwivedi issued a letter on Tuesday announcing Pradhan’s removal from all party posts on ground of violating the constitution of Congress party.

However, Pradhan denied all charges claiming it to be a campaign by a few party men to malign him.  “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 photoshopped. 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 told Times of India.

Pradhan is now planning to meet party leaders Raj Babbar and Rahul Gandhi to offer an explanation.