Keen for a third term at the Centre, the Congress leadership has put party chief ministers on notice.
The party high command has categorically told the chief ministers that their continuation on the post would largely depend on the party’s performance in the next Lok Sabha elections in their respective states.
At present, the Congress is in power in 15 states and junior coalition partner in two other states while it’s main rival BJP is ruling five states.
Congress sources said many of these chief ministers have met the party leadership in the past few weeks during which this “perform or perish” message had been served to them.
“They have been asked them to pull up their socks and ensure maximum gains for the party in the next general elections,” a senior leader said.
The message is interpreted as a signal that there would be no change of guard in Congress-ruled states unless the continuance of the incumbent chief minister becomes untenable due to any reason.
This could come as a breather to chief ministers of states such as Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Kerala, Assam and Uttarakhand where dissidence has peaked in the recent past. Some of the chief ministers have left much to be desired on the governance front and the party does not want local issues to reflect in the general elections.
At the central level, the party has tried to come out of the impact of a series of corruption scams by a slew of economic reform measures.
In the past, AK Antony had resigned as chief minister of Kerala in August 2004 after he took moral responsibility for the crushing defeat of the Congress-led United Democratic Front in his state in the Lok Sabha elections held in May that year.
Similarly, state chiefs too have been told to put their house in order before the parliamentary elections.