Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa on Monday lambasted Congress leader Tarun Gogoi for suggesting that former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi will contest the 2021 elections in the state on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket. Biswa said the party was yet to decide on a chief ministerial candidate, PTI reported.

A controversy had erupted last week after Tarun Gogoi said “his sources” have told him that Ranjan Gogoi’s name features in the BJP’s list of probable chief ministerial candidates in Assam. The Congress leader also alleged that the BJP nominated the former CJI to the Rajya Sabha because they were happy with his verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute, However, Ranjan Gogoi on Monday strongly rejected the claims and said he neither had ambition nor the intent to contest the polls as was not a politician.

Sarma, while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a plasma donation camp at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital on Monday, accused Tarun Gogoi of courting a controversy for political gains. “The former chief justice is not even a member of the BJP and was nominated by the President to the Rajya Sabha,” Sarma said. “The former chief minister [Tarun Gogoi] has a habit of naming people out of context and creating unnecessary controversies.”

“The BJP has not even decided whether the party will announce the chief ministerial candidate prior to the Assembly elections,” the BJP minister added. “Tarun Gogoi has a grudge against me but drags in Ranjan Gogoi’s name.”

On Monday, Gogoi 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 had 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.