Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has said that he is ready to take the responsibility of the Leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha if the party offers him the job.

“If offered, I am ready to be the Congress Lok Sabha leader,” Tharoor, elected for a third consecutive term as an MP from Thiruvananthapuram, told Tiranga TV on Monday.

He accepted the Congress’ main election theme — ‘NYAY’ — was not properly communicated among the electorate and criticised Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi’s “soft Hindutava” plank.

He, however, insisted that Rahul Gandhi should continue as the Congress President.

“The party could consider appointing a series of regional working presidents to assist him,” the former Union Minister said.

He said the Congress and other opposition parties must challenge the belief that the Hindutva concept of India, as essentially a Hindu country, has triumphed over the Nehruvian view of secularism that India is a country of multiple religions, castes, cultures and identities.

Tharoor, a former UN Under-Secretary General, has been representing Thiruvananthapuram since 2009.

In 2014, he won by a narrow margin of 15,000-odd votes against BJP veteran O. Rajagopal. In 2019, he defeated Kummanam Rajasekharan of the BJP by 99,989 votes.

The Congress won 52 seats in the Lok Sabha polls. It remains the main opposition party in the house. However, like in the 16th Lok Sabha, the Congress has not qualified to have a Leader of Opposition in the 17th Lok Sabha.