The Madhya Pradesh High Court has issued a notice to the state government over granting Minister of State (MoS) status to five religious leaders. The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government has been asked to respond to the notice within three weeks.
This comes just days after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Madhya Pradesh accorded Minister of State status to five Hindu religious leaders. As per an order of General Administration Department’s additional secretary KK Katiya, the MoS status was accorded to Narmadanand Maharaj, Hariharanand Maharaj, Computer Baba, Bhayyu Maharaj and Pandit Yogendra Mahant.
Assembly elections are due in the state this year, and main opposition Congress dubbed the decision as an attempt by the BJP to exploit the respect these religious leaders enjoy in the society.
“It’s a gimmick to score political points. This is also an effort by the chief minister (Shivraj Singh Chouhan) to wash off his sins. He ignored conservation of the Narmada. These saints should inspect where the state government has planted six crore saplings (along the river banks) as claimed by the CM,” said Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi.
State BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal said the opposition party dislikes anything related to saints.
“Saints and seers were accorded the MoS status to make their work of environment and river conservation easy. The saints were roped in for the Narmada conservation work to ensure public participation,” Agrawal said.