SHILLONG: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Friday said that veteran Congress leader Donwa Dethwelson Lapang was forced to quit the Congress.
Sangma, who is leading the National People’s Party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance coalition government, hinted that his party was welcoming Lapang, saying “people with such track record, experience and knowledge can be used in so many ways.” It is sad he has no other option but to resign from the Congress,” Sangma said. “I think the Congress will realize that it is a great loss to it.” Asked if the NPP would welcome Lapang to join the party, he said,”We will discuss and see... It is something we can look at and discuss. However, it is up to Lapang to decide.”
Former Congress member and present BJP MLA and Minister in the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) AL Hek on Friday said the resignation of such an influential leader will ultimately create a ripple within the Congress party. It may be mentioned that on Thursday, four-time Chief Minister Donwa Dethwelson (DD) Lapang resigned from the party, accusing the leadership of adopting a policy of “phasing out” senior leaders. In his resignation letter to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday night, Mr. Lapang said he was resigning “reluctantly and with a heavy heart”. The former Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief had also accused the All India Congress Committee (AICC) of embarking upon a policy of phasing out senior and elderly people.
Speaking to The Sentinel, Hek said, “In my personal observation Dr. DD Lapang is one of the senior most political leader in our State and to resign from a party in which he has been a main stay as a member and as a leader for since many years, will definitely hurt the Congress party in Meghalaya.” When asked, he said, “He is a senior leader of the party and respected the people of the State and for him to be sidelined by the Congress which lead to his subsequent resignation this will be a big blow to the Congress in the State.”
The Meghalya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) spokesperson, Zenith Sangma told The Sentinel, “It is a big surprise to us because at no period of time we have sidelined him as a senior member. He is a man who has faithfully served the party and a fatherly figure to us”, stated Zenith Sangma, adding, “There is no question of sidelining him even after he decided not to contest the elections.” The AICC general secretary in charge of Meghalaya, Eduardo Feilro during an telephonic interaction with The Sentinel stated, “I have just taken over as the AICC general secretary in charge of North east. I will not be able to comment on the recent development.”