Congress leader Tarun Gogoi on Saturday claimed that “his sources” have told him the Bharatiya Janata Party could name former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi the party’s chief ministerial candidate from Assam in the 2021 Assembly elections, The Sentinel reported.

“I have heard from my sources that Ranjan Gogoi’s name is in the list of BJP’s probable CM [chief ministerial] candidates,” Tarun Gogoi told reporters. “I suspect he might be projected as the chief minister by the party in the next Assembly polls.”

The former chief minister alleged that the BJP made the former CJI a member of the Rajya Sabha because the party was happy with his verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute, according to the Hindustan Times. “[Ranjan] Gogoi could have refused to be a Rajya Sabha MP, but his acceptance shows he is interested in active politics,” Tarun Gogoi said.

In a landmark verdict on November 9 last year, the Supreme Court had ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya would be handed over to a government-run trust for the construction of a Ram temple. The court said that the demolition of Babri Masjid was illegal and directed the government to acquire an alternative plot of land to build a mosque. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the temple on August 5.

The Congress leader claimed that Ranjan Gogoi entered politics “step by step” in a gradual manner. “Ranjan Gogoi has a political ambition and so he accepted the Rajya Sabha nomination,” he added. “It won’t be surprising if he becomes the next chief ministerial candidate.”

Assam BJP dismisses claim

The BJP’s Assam unit President Ranjeet Dass, however, said there is not “one iota of truth” in Tarun Gogoi’s claim. “People utter lot of meaningless stuff, when they grow very old, and we would like to put [Tarun] Gogoi’s statement in that category,” Dass told the Hindustan Times. “I have met many former CMs, but no one makes such baseless assertions such as Tarun Gogoi. There is not one iota of truth in what he had said.”

President Ram Nath Kovind had nominated Gogoi to the Upper House in March, just four months after he retired as the chief justice on November 17, 2019. Gogoi had said his presence in Parliament will “be an opportunity to project the views of the judiciary before the legislative and vice versa”. However, several politicians and two retired Supreme Court judges – Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph – had slammed the nomination.

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