The Congress suffered two setbacks in the Northeast on Friday as senior party leader in Meghalaya D D Lapang quit the party and Mizoram Home Minister R Lalzirliana tendered his resignation.
Lapang (84), a five-time former Meghalaya CM and the party’s former state unit chief, tendered his resignation to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, alleging that the party is “embarking upon a policy of phasing out senior and elderly people”. He wrote, “In my opinion it means that the service and contribution of the senior and elderly people is no longer useful…”
The veteran leader has been away from active politics for a while and did not contest the last Assembly elections, held earlier this year. The Congress has 20 MLAs in the 60-member Meghalaya House. Lapang described the end of his 40-year-long relationship with the Congress as “reluctant and with a heavy heart”.
In Mizoram, party vice-president and state Home minister R Lalzirliana (69) tendered his resignation from the Cabinet days after he was served a showcause notice over media reports speculating his defection to the Mizo National Front (MNF) ahead of the upcoming state elections.
A senior Congress leader, who did not want to be named, said, “Till Friday afternoon, he (Lalzirliana) has resigned only from the Cabinet post, not from the party.” The notice asked him to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him. The leader had earlier said that he was hurt by the showcause notice.
In his resignation letter, Lalzirliana said his resignation from the Cabinet was primarily because Saitual area (which falls under his constituency) has not been upgraded into a district despite repeated promises.