GUWAHATI: Former Meghalaya chief minister and political stalwart DD Lapang on Monday joined the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) months after resigning from the Congress.

Lapang quit the Congress party on September 14 last alleging the party leadership was "sidelining" its older leaders.

The four-time chief minister, 84 years old, said he was now "opening a new chapter in my career. I have been in politics for 50 long years and have been serving in this constituency (Nongpoh) for 40 years, and also in different capacities. Today I could see that with changing of time we have to also update ourselves, and I find it fit that in my last political journey, I should associate myself with a party that is workable and is acceptable to the people of Meghalaya," he said.

The NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government had already appointed Lapang Chief Adviser of the Meghalaya government before he formally joined the party.

The ruling MDA in Meghalaya comprises the NPP, the United Democratic Party, the Hill State People’s Democratic Party, the People’s Democratic Front, the Nationalist Congress Party and the BJP.

Lapang termed NPP founder the late Purno Agitok Sangma a "giant" in politics, adding that Sangma's four children, three of whom are in politics as "strong branches", are committed to take the aspirations of the people forward.

“Conrad Sangma is the son of a great national leader, PA Sangma and we see Meghalaya in safe hands under his leadership,” he added.

Conrad Sangma is the incumbent chief minister of Meghalaya, and president of the NPP.

Praising the late PA Sangma for his contributions to the nation Lapang said, “He was a man with a vision, mission and determination. His achievements in politics will be written in gold letters and his footprints will always be remembered.”

It was in 1972 that Lapang was elected MLA from Nongpoh as an independent candidate. He served as chief minister in 1992, 2003, 2007 and 2009.

Welcoming Lapang to the party, Chief Minister Sangma said, “Sir Lapang joining NPP has added tremendous value to the party. His experience, wisdom and knowledge will guide the party to grow further as we propagate the agenda of raising the concerns of the people of Meghalaya and Northeast.”

Sangma added, “I am pained to see the kind of treatment meted out to Sir Lapang by a certain political party. He has dedicated his service to the people of Meghalaya and the Congress party for over five decades but the Congress party did not appreciate even one percent of his contribution.”

“The Congress party has adopted a policy of use and throw. I really wonder if they can use and throw Sir Lapang, what they can do to the common citizen of Meghalaya and their party members,” CM Sangma went on to say.

Informing the gathering that people across the country were rejecting the Congress for its partisan politics, the chief minister said, “In NPP we respect our seniors, we respect our elders and a person of the stature of Sir Lapang will be an inspiration for all the ranks and files in the NPP.”

CM Sangma said his party was witnessing a response from people all over the northeast region. He said he was quoting an MLA from Arunachal Pradesh in saying that, “I see a future for my State of Arunachal and the North East under the leadership and banner of NPP, which is connecting the North East with Delhi.”