NONGPOH: Five-time former Meghalaya Chief Minister D D Lapang, who resigned from the Congress last week, said his political career was not over yet.
He, however, did not talk about his next move and said he would continue to serve the people.
Lapang had made the announcement to quit the Congress at his residence here, where he was received by hundreds of his followers and friends, shortly after he arrived from Delhi where he went to hand over his resignation letter to party chief Rahul Gandhi.
"They (new leaders at the helm of power in the Congress) asked me to stop. I came out of the party," the former Meghalaya chief minister told media persons here on Monday. "What kind of leadership ask us (elderly) to stop? I am against such a policy and I will keep working," he said.
Lapang said senior Congress leaders such as Digvijaya Singh, Ambika Soni, Kamal Nath and Janardan Dwivedi were sidelined, adding leaders like Sushil Kumar Shinde were also driven out.
He has refused to withdraw his resignation from the party. "I have withstood the test of time (in the Congress). Rahul wanted to talk to me, even Sonia wanted to speak to me. Mukul (present Leader of Opposition in Meghalaya) spoke with me for over an hour. But, I have decided and I am a man of my words," the former state president of the Congress said.
Lapang, an MLA since 1972 representing Nongpoh constituency in Ri-Bhoi district, held the Congress president responsible for his quitting the party and not contesting the last assembly elections.
"I did not fight the last election because I saw that the mind of the AICC leaders was against elderly people with grey hair," he said.
Slamming sidelining of elderly leaders from the party, Lapang said, "If we, senior leaders cannot serve, the AICC has forgotten that politicians do not retire".
Lapang, the longest serving Congress legislator representing Nongpoh constituency in Ri-Bhoi district, did not contest the assembly polls in February last, a decision he made in protest against Rahul sacking him from the Congress state president post.
He was replaced by Celestine Lyngdoh as state Congress president in December last year, ahead of the state polls.
Meanwhile, the ruling National Peoples Party (NPP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have aired their strong resentment to the move of the Congress to oust older leaders like Lapang.
"It is quite sad and a person of his stature should not have been treated in that manner. I think the Congress will realise that it is a great loss to the party," Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had said earlier.
Terming it a "big blow" to the Congress, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said, "I think it would also be something the Congress party must be realising itself that he is parting ways after such a long journey".