Shillong: In a major blow to the Congress in Meghalaya, five-time Chief Minister Donwa Dethwelson 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 Thursday night, Lapang said he was resigning "reluctantly and with a heavy heart".

The former Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief accused the All India Congress Committee (AICC) of embarking upon a policy of phasing out senior and elderly people. "In my opinion, it means that service and contribution of senior and elderly people are no longer useful to the party," he said in the letter, copies of which were made available to the media.

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Lapang said, "This restriction made me frustrated and compelled me to be no longer comfortable in the party."

Lapang first became chief minister in 1992. He was again sworn in as CM in 2003, 2007 and 2009.

AICC General Secretary in-charge of Meghalaya, Luizinho Faleirio, said he had not met Lapang in the last three years.

Faleirio said he did not meet Lapang during his recent visit to Shillong for revamping activities of the party.

Lapang, after demitting the office of party chief last year, continued to hold the position of an adviser to the party.

MPCC president Celestine Lyngdoh expressed surprise over Lapang's decision to quit the party. "We'll try and find out and, if possible, sort out things at the earliest," he said.