An online petition has been launched calling for Congress senior leader Shashi Tharoor to be the party’s prime ministerial candidate in the next general elections in 2019. The party, which has been led by its Vice President Rahul Gandhi recently, had been reduced to just 44 seats in the 2014 polls, which is not enough to be considered the leader of Opposition.

The petition on, which had 11,721 signatures by Tuesday evening, was started by a resident of Thiruvananthapuram – Tharoor’s Lok Sabha seat.

The petition says, “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.” It also outlines his work and that Tharoor had worked at the United Nations for more than 30 years.

The Congress has just won the Assembly elections in Punjab. It had also managed to win more seats than any other party in both Goa and Manipur, but the Bharatiya Janata Party is expected to form governments there in alliance with regional outfits. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi appeared to have passed the baton to her son Rahul Gandhi, who led the party’s campaigning for the recently-held elections.