17/03/2017 3:05 PM IST | Updated 17/03/2017 3:12 PM IST

Thanks, But No Thanks, Says Shashi Tharoor To Online Campaign Pitching Him As 2019 PM Candidate

Congress already had "a settled leadership, which is not up for debate."

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor poses at the Jaipur Literature Fest 2017, on January 19, 2017 in Jaipur, India.

Am online campaign calling for the nomination of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor as UPA's prime ministerial candidate for the 2019 general elections has caught the attention of the man himself after it collected more than 16000 signatures. However Tharoor, an MP from Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram, made it clear he neither supported not endorsed the petition.

In a Facebook post on Friday, the former United Nations Under-Secretary General said that although he was touched and surprised, his party had a "settled leadership, which is not up for debate".

"I want to assure those who have nonetheless so generously expressed their faith in me that I share their aspiration for a better India, an aspiration that can best be given voice and expression through the Indian National Congress and the values it enshrines, and will continue to work towards realizing our national destiny and upholding the principles that underpin this destiny," he wrote.

Here's his entire post.

The top Congress leadership has been under intense scrutiny after a series of drubbing at the hustings, including its humiliating performance in Uttar Pradesh, which the Bharatiya Janata Party swept, despite Congress's tie up with the incumbent Samajwadi Party. There has been a growing clamour to bring about changes in the top leadership and force it to accept more responsibility for the party's decline in recent years. Congress leaders have been repeatedly accused of sycophancy for their unfailing support to the Gandhi family, despite a clear lack of decisive leadership.

"Dr 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 Dr Shashi Tharoor to be the Prime Ministerial candidate of UPA in the run up to 2019," the Change.org petition, started by one Paul Trivandrum, noted.