Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Tuesday raised a series of questions in Parliament about India’s industrial output, manufacturing sector, the Modi government’s use of the Enforcement Directorate against Opposition and asked, “who is the pappu now?”

“This government and the ruling party coined the term pappu,” Moitra said during a debate in the Lok Sabha on demands for additional grants for 2022-’23. “You use it to denigrate and signify extreme incompetence. But the statistics tell us who the actual pappu is.”

Pappu is a Hindi slang for simpleton, which has been weaponised by the Bharatiya Janata Party against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Accusing the Modi government of spreading lies about India’s growth, Moitra on Tuesday urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to take control of the economy.


The politician referred to the data released by the National Statistical Office and said that while the country’s industrial output shrunk by 4% in October to a 26-month low, the manufacturing sector, which is the biggest generator of jobs, contracted by 5.6%.

“This government has us believe every February that this country’s economy is going great guns, we are the fastest growing most efficient global player, everyone is getting employment, cylinders, electricity and pucca houses,” Moitra said. “This falsehood flies for eight to ten months and the truth comes out limping after it.”

The legislator from the Krishnanagar constituency in West Bengal also questioned the government on the record number of Indians renouncing their citizenship in 2021.

Over 1.83 lakh Indians renounced their citizenship between January and October, up by almost 20,000 from 1.63 lakh (approximately) in 2021, according to the Centre’s reply in Lok Sabha on December 9.

“This exodus of 2022 takes the total number of Indians renouncing Indian citizenship under this government in the past nine years since 2014 to over 12.5 lakh people,” Moitra said on Tuesday. “Is this sign of a healthy economic environment or a healthy tax environment [in the country]? Who is the pappu now?”

The Trinamool Congress leader said that the “sword” of the Enforcement Directorate hangs over “businessmen and high-net-worth individuals” as well as leaders of Opposition parties, creating an atmosphere of fear.

“The ruling party buys lawmakers for hundreds of crores of rupees and yet members of the Opposition represent 95% of the lawmakers under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate,” Moitra alleged.

The Lok Sabha member also said that the BJP’s defeat in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections shows that party president JP Nadda failed to hold on to his home state. “Who’s the pappu now?” she asked.