Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Sunday rejected rumours of him being the chief ministerial candidate for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Assam. The clarification came after Congress leader Tarun Gogoi on Saturday claimed that “his sources” told him the BJP could name Gogoi the party’s candidate from Assam in the 2021 Assembly elections.
“I’m not a politician and have no such ambition or intent,” Gogoi told India Today in an interview. “Nobody has mentioned any such possibility to me.”
Gogoi also said that his decision to accept the role of a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha was an opportunity to voice his opinions. “I have consciously chosen to be a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha because it gives me the opportunity to air my views on issues of interest to me while retaining my independence,” he said. “Does that make me a politician?”
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.
Tarun Gogoi 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. He added that Ranjan Gogoi entered politics “step by step” in a gradual manner.
In a landmark verdict on November 9, 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 BJP’s Assam unit President Ranjeet Dass also said that there was not even “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,” he added.