oppn parties 'Babas' As MoS: Chouhan Is Playing With Fire

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'Babas' As MoS: Chouhan Is Playing With Fire

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
What is the country coming to? Five so-called ‘godmen’ have been accorded the status of ministers of state (MoS) in Madhya Pradesh. Computer Baba, Bhayyu Maharaj, Pandit Yogendra Mahant, Narmanand Maharaj and Hariharanand Maharaj, heads of various ashrams in the state and campaigners to save the river Narmada, have been made MoS. Before that, on March 31, the five were appointed to a committee formed for the conservation of the Narmada. Two out of the five, Computer Baba and Yogendra Mahant, were to start an agitation to highlight the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government’s alleged ghotala during last year’s Narmada Sewa Yatra and planting of 6cr saplings along the banks of the river. After his appointment as MoS, Computer Baba is reported to have said that there is no need now for the agitation. If this is not quid pro quo, what is? It is also a dangerous attempt to mix religion with politics and goes against the constitution.

It is the prerogative of the chief minister to choose who is going to assist him in governing the state. If talent is not available within the party, a sagacious chief minister is expected to appoint domain experts from outside as advisors. He can even induct them in the cabinet and get them elected within six months as per electoral laws. But it is distressing to see Chouhan appoint these self-styled gurus to save his skin and his government. But Chouhan should remember that he is playing with fire. Babas, mahants, self-styled gurus and people who use religion to fool people have insatiable appetites. They will use their new status to further their own ends and conserving Narmada will now be furthest from their minds. If Chouhan thinks that he will get access to a captive vote bank through their ‘devotees’, he must remember that people who will resent and be put off by this decision are far more in number than the votes he can hope to swing with the help of the babas.