Ahead of the assembly elections in 2018, Madhya Pradesh’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan government granted Minister of state (MoS) status to five Hindu religious saints on Tuesday. Criticizing the decision, the Congress party called a “gimmick to score political points”. They were given this status after appointing them to a committee formed to create awareness about tree plantation, water conservation and cleanliness along the Narmadad.
“It’s a gimmick to score political points. He ignored conservation of the Narmada. These saints should inspect where the state government has planted six crore saplings as claimed by the CM,” said Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi.
A General Administration Department’s official said that they have been granted the MoS status as members of the committee.
Meet those five Computer Babas who were granted Mos status:
Computer Baba: Swami Namdev Tyagi is called Computer Baba since he claims to possess a computer-like brain and very sharp memory. Besides he is always seen with a laptop in hand. The baba remains armed equipped with all the latest gadgets including wi-fi dongles, mobile phones and even a helicopter. Apparently, he courted controversy in 2013, when he demanded Kumbh Mela authorities to allow him to arrive in a helicopter and take a dip in the river. He had earlier declared to launch a 15-day “Narmada scam Yatra” along the bank offriver Narmada in the state. But he dropped plan without assigning any reason.
Bhaiyyu Maharaj: His real name is Udaysingh Deshmukh. He is landlord’s son and former model. Maharaj, who is known for his opulent lifestyle, elegantly dressed, operates from a sprawling ashram at Idore, travels in a white Mercedes SUV with a small band of followers. During his trips, he stays in lavish resorts. Politicians and businessmen, visits him for ‘advice’ on spiritual matters.
Hariharanandji: He was one of the 50 people who led the Namami Devi Narmade Sewa Yatra – the world’s largest river conservation campaign in terms of sheer scale.
Pt Yogendra Mahant: He criticized the BJP state government over the Narmada scam and held a rath yatra from May 1 to May 15 in 45 districts. He said that his yatra would expose the state government for spending crores of rupees for plantation in the name of Narmada Hariyali project. Shivraj Singh Chouhan government’s decision to grant him MoS status seemed to be a ploy to placate the religious leader.