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Congress has not appreciated my work: Shashi Tharoor to Sonia Gandhi

The party president had taken Tharoor to task for supposedly leaking to the media details of a meeting of Congress MPs.

Updated: Aug 01, 2015, 10.18 AM IST
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The party president had taken Tharoor to task for supposedly leaking to the media details of a meeting of Congress MPs. 
The party president had taken Tharoor to task for supposedly leaking to the media details of a meeting of Congress MPs. 
NEW DELHI: Shashi Tharoor, no stranger to controversies, has written a scathing letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi accusing the party leadership of not appreciating his “sincerity” while distancing himself from recent media reports of his disagreement with the party’s strategy to stall Parliament.

“I was dismayed, indeed distressed, by our exchange at the morning meeting,” Tharoor said in his letter to Gandhi, referring to reports that the party president had taken Tharoor to task for supposedly leaking to the media details of a meeting of Congress MPs. He expressed dismay at reports that had stated he cut an “isolated figure” at the meeting and that “everybody disagreed with him” when he suggested that the party should not stall Parliament.

“Yet, your comments this morning were based on the assumptions that I was responsible for the leaks! Why on earth would I have spoken to the media to undermine myself and my standing within the party?” Tharoor said.

Tharoor alleged that the rumour that he had leaked the proceedings of a meeting of Congress MPs were “maliciously” aimed at him and maintained that this was an attempt to prevent frank airing of views by him within Congress in future. He lamented that the party has not appreciated his work and expressed unhappiness.

“I hope there is no misunderstanding of either my conduct or my intentions. I have served the party’s interests with sincerity and to the best of my ability, while often feeling that this has neither been seen nor appreciated. The events of the last 24 hours sadly suggest that this remained the case,” Tharoor said.

Responding to an email query on whether he had written such a letter, Tharoor said he would neither confirm nor deny it. “I will neither confirm nor deny because even responding to such a question legitimises your line of inquiry.”

The date of the letter is not known, but the references suggest the letter was written immediately after reports surfaced of Tharoor’s supposed reservations at the tactics adopted by Congress in Parliament.

On July 22, the Indian Express reported that Tharoor had opposed disrupting Parliament at a meeting of Congress MPs on Tuesday (July 21) on the ground that the party did not have the numbers in the Lok Sabha and it was not clear if other opposition parties would back such a strategy.

News agency PTI reported on July 22 that Sonia Gandhi had “blasted” Tharoor for leaking the proceedings of the meeting of Congress MPs. The report said an angry Gandhi was in no mood to listen to Tharoor’s explanations. The reference in the letter to “your comments this morning” seemingly alludes to these events.

Tharoor has been in the news

The flamboyant United Nations undersecretary-turned-MP and former Union minister has been in the news for a host of reasons. Reports of a rift between him and the top leadership of Congress have been doing the rounds for some time. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent praise of Tharoor for his speech at Oxford University against British rule in India had added grist to the rumour mills that he was becoming close to Bharatiya Janata Party.

In his letter, Tharoor also mentioned his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death and the “ghoulish attention” he received from the media in the wake of this “personal tragedy”. He added that since then he has kept his distance from the media.

“It is obvious that some people have managed to persuade you that I have been speaking to the press against the party’s interests. Nothing could be farther from the truth… Leaking is the habit of conspirators and cowards; I am neither. Ever since my unwelcome intrusion into their space, however, I have been targetted by both,” Tharoor said.

Striking a conciliatory note, the former minister of state for external affairs praised Gandhi for creating a forum within Congress for MPs to speak out frankly and for Rahul Gandhi’s view that the party entertains differing views.

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