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Lapang quits Cong after AICC policy tweak

Unhappy with party sidelining senior leaders, says ex-CM

From CK Nayak

NEW DELHI: Congress veteran DD Lapang who served the party for 40 years, sprang a surprise on Thursday night by sending his resignation letter to AICC for sidelining him and other senior leaders.
The heat on the Congress is rising in Meghalaya, where the high command was planning a reshuffle to rejuvenate the party before the Lok Sabha election, with the unexpected twist that has the potential to adversely impact a large section of its vote bank.
In a letter to AICC president Rahul Gandhi, Lapang said he was discontinuing his service to the party “with a heavy heart”.
His pithy remarks about the leadership’s working policy comes two days after the newspaper reported about its intention to remove the inactive leaders.
The former chief minister of Meghalaya, who was crucial in consolidating a large vote base of the Congress in Ri Bhoi district, accused Gandhi of sidelining senior leaders whose “service and contribution” are “no longer useful to the party”.
The 84-year-old leader was unceremoniously removed as the MPCC president before the Assembly elections and was made a figurehead advisor to the state leadership.
Lapang, however, made it clear in the letter that he was not hanging his boots yet as he still has “the spirit and enthusiasm to work for the people”.
When questioned by The Shillong Times about his plan to join any party, Lapang remained evasive. “Right now I am alone,” he said.
This newspaper had reported about possible desertion by senior leaders even after the defeat of former MLA Martin M Danggo.
“Lately, the AICC has been embarking on a policy of phasing out senior and elderly people,” Lapang said in this letter adding, “In my opinion it means that their service and contribution of the (sic) senior and elderly people is no longer useful to the party.”
“… this restriction made me frustrated and compelled me to be no longer comfortable to be in the party. With my present age and health condition, I have decided to continue to serve the country, my state and its people in the same manner wherever I am,” the veteran leader said hinting that he would be active in politics.
Copies of the resignation letter were sent to Sonia Gandhi, AICC general secretary Luizinho Faleiro, CLP leader Mukul Sangma and MPCC chief Celestine Lyngdoh, among others.
Sangma, who replaced Lapang in his last term, had admitted that some Congress MLAs were in touch with the ruling NPP but had ruled out any more defection in future. The AICC is well aware and taking remedial action in which some active leaders will be given major responsibilities.

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