The BJP has come under fire from the Election Commission for running a campaign advertisment that features a character called ‘Pappu’. The Commission has called the ad, which has now been pulled out, derogatory because it is perceived to be referring to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is regularly lampooned online as ‘Pappu’ – a north Indian slang for a novice or simpleton.
‘Pappu’ is also a common enough nickname in India and doesn’t point to any one individual specifically. So in pulling up the BJP, has the Election Commission inadvertently admitted that it is indeed Rahul Gandhi who is being mocked here? Has the EC only served to reinforce the perception that a large section of Indians identify ‘Pappu’ with Rahul Gandhi. To paint the whole picture, detractors of the country’s PM Narendra Modi, often insultingly refer to him as ‘Feku’ – a person full of big talk and empty promises.
That being the case, was it unfair on the BJP’s part to ridicule an opposing national leader in their campaign?