In a setback to the BJP in Gujarat, the Election Commission has barred the saffron party from using the word “Pappu” in an electronic advertisement, which was aimed at countering the rising popularity of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Explaining its decision, the EC called it “derogatory”.
“Pappu” is perceived as a social media slur coined to target Gandhi.
Confirming the development, sources in the BJP said the script of the advertisement did not link the word to any individual, reported PTI.
According to BJP sources, the media committee under the Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) objected to the word mentioned in the script of the advertisement which was submitted by the party for approval last month.
“Before making any election-related advertisement, we have to submit a script to the committee to get a certificate. However, they raised objection to the word ‘Pappu’, saying it is derogatory. They asked us to remove or replace it,” a senior BJP leader was quoted by the news agency.
He said the party will replace the word and submit a new script for the EC’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. Now, we will change that word and submit a new script for approval,” he said.
When contacted, Gujarat CEO BB Swain said he was not aware of any such development and can comment only after getting the details.
Rahul has been drawing huge crowds in Gujarat during his recent visits with thousands thronging to his rallies. The state goes to poll in two stages on 9 and 14 December next month.
Analysts say that the BJP is finding itself on a sticky wicket for the first time in 15 years since Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a historic mandate in the state. The outcome here will determine the political fate of both the prime minister and his party, the BJP.