“I have stepped down owning moral responsibility for the failure of our party to win any of the 14 LS seats. It is up to the party to decide what my role would be now,” Mahanta said after resigning as party chief following a brainstorming session at the AGP headquarters.
Mahanta was AGP’s founder-president for 16 years since its birth. He was forced to step aside on 5 September 2001 after the Congress routed the party in the assembly elections that year.
After a failed attempt to take over the reins of the party in 2005, he was expelled from the party but retaliated soon by forming AGP (Progressive). He was the only one in the faction to win the 2006 Assembly elections, but it spoiled the AGP’s electoral party.
The loss made AGP leaders realize that they could not afford to keep Mahanta out. The winds of change blew when incumbent president Brindaban Goswami, under pressure for the party’s loss in the 2006 assembly elections, gave way to Mahanta loyalist Chandra Mohan Patowary, who in October 2008 reunited all factions of AGP, including Mahanta’s.
Mahanta was made the legislature party chief on 4 September 2010 and was subsequently chosen the party president.