Pappu, Pheku and Paltu



What is true for Rahul is also true for Kejriwal. Both are running against time. If the Congress leader has too many old horses in his team, Kejriwal has a team with too many kids in politics 

[dropcap]P[/dropcap]APPU, Pheku and Paltu are the three nicknames that social media came up for three Prime Ministerial candidates. The loyalists of the three parties may not agree with these epithets but the truth is that these are befitting titles, even if loosely, for the three leaders.
Whenever I hear Modi speak in a rally, he reminds me of the Ameen Sayaani of the old days, whose almost every sentence started with “Bhaiyo aur Bahno”. And Modi’s each sentence directed at his brothers and sisters is full of wild claims emanating from a face that puffs with arrogance.
And he is such a big ‘pheku’ (big mouth) that he now even quotes the Sachar Report for driving home the point that Muslims of Gujarat are more developed. He forgets that Sachar Report was released in 2006 and its statistics reflect a position for which the Modi government of few years cannot take credit; whatever is there in that report reflects the performance of the State during at least one decade if not several decades before the date of release. 
The literacy rate, life expectancy and child mortality cannot show sudden changes within the 3-4 years, especially considering the fact that this was the time when the state in general and Muslims in particular were reeling under the impact of 2002 riots.
Interestingly, Congress PR machinery has become so ineffective that it does not even counter this propaganda point of Modi. However, some experts and Congress leaders have time and gain challenged his claims on the Gujarat Model with statistics that paint a grim picture of the state.
While these technical details did not deter Modi from continuing in Pheku mode, the simple worded lethal attack by Kejriwal against his claims of success in Gujarat appears to have had a bigger impact.
Meanwhile the Paltu (Kejriwal) continues to attract the media attention through his “hit and run” tactics.  These tactics can be technically challenged but the truth remains that they have served the political purpose well. Kejriwal has proved to be a clever challenger for Modi with the difference that his cleverness appears, at least for the time being, to be aimed at genuine issues of the ‘aam aadmi.’
In this process, he has emerged as the X factor in these defining elections. Nobody can predict how many seats he is going to win for his party. The predictions may vary from as low as 5 to as high as 100. It is also not yet clear which of the two biggest parties he is going to harm more.
If he is able to attract the middle class Hindus, he will harm both; if his appeal increases among Muslims without the same effect on Hindu voters, it will hit the Congress more. Not many MPs of AAP may ultimately occupy positions in Parliament but the party will certainly have an impact on its composition.
Faced with the arrogance of Modi and shrewdness of Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi appears to be a Pappu. He is the true gentleman of Indian politics who may not be a kid in terms of his knowledge of politics but he certainly has a childish innocence in his ways.
Ideally this should have been his plus point. But unfortunately for him, he has to carry the burden of the political failure of the UPA cabinet, which failed to enthuse the people.
They failed to counter the effect of Anna movement despite the fact that it was the Right to Information Act brought by the United Progressive Alliance that paved way for the unveiling of the corruption which Kejriwal, a RTI activist, and others exploited against the very government that brought it. If Pappu had been handed over the property in right shape by his uncles and aunties, he could have found it easy to handle them.
Instead he has been entrusted with responsibility to refurbish the inheritance. Unfortunately again for him, he has not got enough time for the damage control. Furthermore, Congressmen have failed him with their lackluster campaigning. They have failed to pick up the momentum despite Rahul’s bold moves on corruption, his hardening stance against communalism and his inclusive economics.
What is true for Rahul is also true for Kejriwal. Both are running against time. Kejriwal does not have the burden of old baggage which Rahul is carrying. But if the Congress leader has too many old horses in his team, Kejriwal has a team with too many kids in politics.
Modi, on the other hand, had the advantage of having a long time to command all his forces and weapons. His communal appeal and the support of corporates have combined well to project him as the leading candidate in the race for the post of Prime Minister.
I wish Papu and Paltu would somehow come together against Pheku. This would have largely neutralized, if not killed, both his agendas – communal and corporate. It is now left to the people to act wisely to save their country from the impending risks.


  1. I am not a native Hindi speaker, and I hardly know Hindi. I heard these rhyming words ‘Pappu’, ‘Pheku’, and ‘Paltu’ used before, but I do not know their meaning. This article tells the meaning of ‘Pheku’ i.e. big mouth, but does not say any thing about the other two words. When I googled those words, Wikipedia gave the meaning of ‘Pappu’ used to refer to Mr. Rahul Gandhi. When I googled for ‘Paltu’, the Google results show only Shaikh Paltu, a soldier in Bengal Infantry of 1857 British East India Company, and Paltu Das, an 18th century Bania Saint of Ayodhya, and Prince Paltu-Ob, a contemporary dancer in Philippines. What is the meaning of ‘Paltu’? Whom does it refer to? Does it refer to the Shaikh, the Saint, or the Dancer, or some thing entirely different? I do wish the article had inserted the meaning of these words in parenthesis just as it did for ‘Pheku’. Or it does it now!


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