SHILLONG, Sept 14 - In a big blow to Congress, a “frustrated and uncomfortable” 84-year-old veteran Congress leader and former Chief Minister DD Lapang tendered his resignation from the party today.
In the letter to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Lapang said that he feels uncomfortable and frustrated in the party because “senior and elderly” person like him is neglected after years of dedicated service to the party.
“Lately, the AICC has been embarking on a policy of phasing out senior and elderly people. In my opinion, it means that the service and contribution of the senior and elderly people is no longer useful to the party.”
He further continued: “… this restriction made me frustrated and uncomfortable” in the party. “Therefore reluctantly and with a heavy heart I would like to discontinue my dedication towards the Congress party and I tender my resignation with immediate effect,” Lapang said, who is currently in New Delhi.
Lapang is a rag-to-riches story and was a road labourer before his hard work made him successful. He joined active politics and won the Nongpoh seat in RI-Bhoi district in 1972 as an Independent candidate.
He later joined Congress and became the Chief Minster in 1992, but lasted less than a year in office. He again held the post in 2003 to 2006 and from 2007 to 2008.
His last term in office as the CM was from 2009 to 2010. Lapang never completed a full term in office as the CM due to the continuous infighting within the Congress.
He was ousted from office in 2010 by Mukul Sangma and all these infighting and favouritism within the party finds reference in his resignation letter when he said that he has “accepted sacrifices” for the sake of the party.
Lapang didn’t contest the last Assembly election due to old age and health-related issues. He was the State Congress president but was removed from the post and was made the advisor to the State Government – largely a ceremonial post.
There is no doubt about the continued undercurrents within the Congress party. The fact that a senior MLA like MM Danggo quit the party after winning the election this year and later joining the NPP is one example. There are several other legislators who are unhappy and are likely to quit the party.
The resignation letter also speaks about the infighting. Lapang’s resignation letter was leaked to the media last night although it’s dated September 14.
There is a pressure that is being built up ahead of the resignation and it would be interesting to see whether the Congress president accepts the resignation.
Whether it is accepted or not, Lapang would have his say before he departs and probably Sangma’s leadership would be one of the issues taken up during the discussions.