SHILLONG, Sep 23: Veteran Congress DD Lapang leader on Sunday stated that his refusal to contest the assembly election from Nongpoh constituency was because he saw the mind of the AICC to phase out senior and elderly leaders to be replaced by young ones.
“I made a decision to project a new young leader Meralborn Syiem who will have a better place in the AICC as it will be in consonance with the present policy. I worked very hard which also Syiem’s victory by a big margin,” Lapang said.
The former Congress veteran also slammed the statements especially made by MLA Zenith Sangma and Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee chief Dr Celestine Lyngdoh against him which were “false, baseless and unfounded.”
Hitting out at the All India Congress Committee (AICC), Lapang said, “There has been an ongoing system adopted by the AICC, whenever they want to change the Chief Minister, on grounds best known to them, they summon the sitting Chief Minister to Delhi and is being notified that base on reports collected by the high command, the Chief Minister is asked to step down and submit his resignation. They would go to the extent of drafting the resignation letter according to their whims and fancies.”
Resonating his case, the former Congress leader said that he have been inducted five times as Chief Minister of the state and there was a time the AICC intended to change his position and appoint JD Rymbai as Chief Minister.
He stated that as the system goes, he was summoned to Delhi and was advised to resign and he as a discipline Congress man did not argue and willingly obliged.
“On another occasion, on the pretext of the reports collected by the high commands I was told that for the unity of the party, I was to resign as Chief Minister and Dr Mukul Sangma to be appointed in my place. It was only then that I have been made to understand the mind of the high command and I forwarded my resignation,” Lapang said.
The veteran politician stated that it was for the sake of unity and to strengthen the party that he wholeheartedly cooperated with the decision of the AICC.
Lapang also stated that in the same manner, the AICC wanted to remove him as the President of MPCC, and the AICC sent Anil Thomas, one of the coordinators of the AICC to Meghalaya.
According to the former Congress veteran, Thomas came to Shillong apprised him about the thoughts of AICC to replace senior and elderly leaders by appointing young leaders. He further said that the AICC President Rahul Gandhi wanted to meet Lapang personally.
According to Lapang, this practice of replacing elderly leaders by the AICC has been going on in many other states, having a close relationship with me and out of respect for his opinion they (AICC) preferred to address the issue at a personal level.
“As a dedicated party member I agreed to meet Rahul Gandhi, Anil Thomas then went back to Delhi to fix a meeting with Rahul Gandhi and telephoned me that he gave me the appointment to meet him on Saturday. I however refused to meet him on the given date as I had to attend special church programme on Sunday so he then fix the appointment on Tuesday. I proceed to Delhi, since Raul Gandhi arrived very late on Tuesday, we met on Wednesday. During the meeting, I was made to understand what the high command wants. I agreed to step down, but I requested him to allow me to handover on a later date since the assembly election is on and the voting date is just a few days away,” Lapang said.
However, Lapang said that Gandhi told him that the arrangement has been made all over the country including Meghalaya to which he obediently agreed.
The veteran politician stated that he was on his way back to Shillong when he found that the notification approving Dr. Celestine Lyngdoh’s appointment as the new MPCC chief was already out.