Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today responded to an online petition sought to project his name as the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) prime ministerial face for the 2019 General Elections.
The petition, started on online platform ‘change.org’ by Thiruvananthapuram resident Paul Trivandrum, had garnered more than 16,000 supporters till date.
Tharoor, who represents Thiruvananthapuram in the Lok Sabha, said that he neither endorses nor supports the campaign.
“I am a member of Parliament for the Congress Party, nothing more and nothing less. The party has a settled leadership, which is not up for debate. When changes occur they do so through an established procedure,” the 61-year-old said in a Facebook post, discouraging his fans from signing in favour of the petition.
In his petition, Paul said that the country needs a ‘strong public’ interest based opposition led by a visionary leader capable of Prime Ministership.
Paul said that he strongly feels that Tharoor, who has deep knowledge of international and national issues, is the man who can connect with people and can also give a tough fight to incumbent PM Narendra Modi.
"In another two years' time India, the largest democracy of the world will face another national election. Success of a democratic country requires a strong public interest based opposition led by a visionary leader capable of prime ministership," the petition said.
"Shashi Tharoor is a man well qualified with deep knowledge of international and national issues, who can connect with the people of India and with world leaders. We nominate Shashi Tharoor to be the Prime Ministerial candidate of UPA in the run up to 2019. In best interest of the world's largest democracy and to rejuvenate the opposition," it added.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections the Congress could manage only 44 seats, despite being in power for two consecutive terms.