Stating that he is an “honest and loyal” worker of the party, BJP MP Dr Anil Agrawal has said that he did not sign the letter sent to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla last Saturday, urging him to restore Congress MP Shashi Tharoor as chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology.
In a letter to Piyush Goyal, BJP’s Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha, Agrawal stated, “I have not signed any such letter. I have also denied, through important newspapers, regarding the signing of such an alleged letter.”
“I have verbally informed about the denial to the Lok Sabha Speaker, Minister of Information and Technology, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Leader of House, Rajya Sabha,” Agrawal wrote in the letter, dated September 26. “I am an honest and loyal worker of the party and I assure you that there would be no such act by me in future also, which damages the image or discipline of the party.”
When contacted, Agrawal confirmed that he had written to Goyal and clarified his position.
Last week, Agrawal had told The Indian Express: “He (Tharoor) was outgoing… so I said he did well. That was my spirit… every chairman who completes his tenure, every member says he did well and we hope he shall continue.”
Asked about his name in the letter to the Speaker, along with those of Opposition MPs, the BJP MP said: “I have very good relations (sadbhav) with him (Tharoor). But I cannot go against my party’s wishes…. I came to know about the letter only at about 6 or 7 pm. In India, we always speak good about the outgoing (person). That was my intention.”
Besides Agrawal, the joint letter to the Speaker was signed by CPI(M) member John Brittas, Congress’s Karti Chidambaram, TMC’s Mahua Moitra, and T Sumathy (a) Thamizhachi Thangapandian of DMK.