Former Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla has said that he would be resigning from the post of Congress’ state unit chief, PTI reported on Monday. Thanhawla was appointed as the president of Mizoram Pradesh Congress in 1973 at the age of 34 and has been holding the post since then.

He said he would be holding the post only for the current term till 2022.

The former chief minister also announced that he would not contest the next state Assembly elections to be held in 2023. Thanhawla, however, clarified that he would not be resigning from politics, reported The Indian Express.

“This should not be misconstrued as me resigning from politics,” he told The Indian Express. “Politics is in my blood and I can never shrug it off. But I do think it is high time that I make way for someone younger. I am a grand old man now.”

Thanhawla said that he would be going to Delhi to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi about his resignation. “I was scheduled to travel on Tuesday but have now postponed it because of the worsening air quality condition in the Capital,” he said.

On Congress’ future, Thanhawla said the party was quite old and that ups and downs were normal.

“I may just be set to resign from the post but I would never leave the Congress,” he told The Indian Express. “I was born a Congress man and I will die a Congress man.”

The Congress chief hoped that the party would continue to grow under the new leadership.

Thanhawla had joined the underground movement led by Mizo National Front in the 1960s. He entered active politics after he was released from jail in 1967.

He became a legislator in 1978. Following this, Thanhawla lost only two state Assembly elections in 1998 and 2018. In the 2018 Assembly elections, the Congress chief had lost both seats that he contested.

He has been the chief minister of the state five times between 1984 and 2018.

After the Mizoram Peace Accord was signed in 1986, Thanhawla stepped down from the chief minister’s post to make way for Mizo National Front leader Laldenga.