Assam BJP trashes ‘theory’ on ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi as its CM candidate

Veteran Congress leader and former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had said the former CJI’s name was doing the rounds

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has dismissed as a “mere theory” that former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi would be its chief ministerial candidate for the 2021 Assam election.

Veteran Congress leader and former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said on Saturday said that the ex-CJI was on a list of names the BJP was considering for projecting as the next Chief Minister.

President Ram Nath Kovind had nominated Mr. Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha on March 16, four months after he retired as the CJI. He was sworn in as an Upper House member on March 19.

“I have come to know from reliable sources that Ranjan Gogoi’s name is doing the rounds. I am not surprised because the former CJI gradually entered politics by accepting the Rajya Sabha offer after the BJP was happy with his judgment in the Ayodhya Ram Mandir case,” the former Chief Minister said.

State BJP spokesperson Dewan Dhrubajyoti Moral said he had no words for reacting to “anything that is like building castles in the air”.

Senior BJP leaders, however, said the party had no reason to look beyond current Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal who had a “clean image” and was “acceptable to all tribal and non-tribal indigenous groups”.

“Such speculations [on ex-CJI] will continue till the Assembly election,” a senior BJP leader said, declining to be quoted.

Voices against alliance

The Congress has been facing opposition from within to the move for a pre-poll alliance with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) led by perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal.

“We don’t think tying up with the AIUDF will help our party, especially in eastern Assam,” said Rupjyoti Kurmi, Congress MLA representing the Mariani Assembly constituency.

Congress leaders in eastern Assam, where the BJP weaned away the former’s “vote bank” comprising Adivasis associated with tea plantations and indigenous groups, feel an alliance with the AIUDF will send the wrong signal.

Mr. Ajmal had floated the AIUDF after the Supreme Court scrapped the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act in 2005. The AIUDF’s steady rise as a political force, particularly in constituencies where migrant Muslims dominate, was at the expense of the Congress.

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