Congress MP Shashi Tharoor is said to have written to party president Sonia Gandhi alleging that he is the victim of planted stories in the media and that the "press leaks" were “maliciously aimed” to portray him as an isolated figure in the party, according to reports.
NDTV reported that copies of the unsigned, two-page email appeared last night. But Tharoor refused to either confirm or deny that he wrote to Gandhi complaining that his dedication to the party often went unnoticed.
"I am not going to say anything which can legitimise your line of enquiry by denying or confirming," both NDTV and the Indian Express quoted Tharoor as saying in Thiruvananthapuram.
"Why on earth would I have spoken to the media to undermine myself and my standing within the party?" Tharoor is said to have written in the email and denied ever having spoken to the media. He also sought to clarify misunderstandings, if any, over his “conduct or intentions,” the Indian Express reported.
Recently, Gandhi, who rarely loses her temper with her partymen, allegedly blasted the former Union Minister at a meeting of lawmakers after his views against stalling Parliament, a key Opposition strategy during the monsoon session, were leaked in the media.
"You always do this, it's become a habit with you," Gandhi is said to have told Tharoor. "Gandhi, who generally does not get angry, literally blasted Tharoor," an unnamed source told PTI, adding that the party chief was in no mood to listen to any explanation from Tharoor. Sonia was angry at Tharoor because his opposition to disruption tactics at a strategy meeting had made its way to the media.
Tharoor had argued that the Congress should engage in discussion on all issues in Parliament -- be it Vyapam or the Lalit Modi episode -- and use facts and figures to drive home its point.
Sonia's reprimand of Tharoor came amid a belligerent Congress leaving no stone unturned to corner the Narendra Modi government over the various scams involving top BJP leaders. The Congress has been demanding the resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh over Lalitgate and Vyapam.
In the recent letter, Tharoor also mentioned his personal tragedy, the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar, and the "ghoulish attention" from the media. He said he always spoke on record and refrained from whispering "secrets and gossip" to the media, according to the IE report.
This is not for the first time the Thiruvananthapuram MP has been caught on the wrong foot by the party. Some of his views including what was seen as being appreciative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had caused a controversy.
“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," Tharoor is said to have written.