So Computer Baba, Narmadanand Maharaj, Hariharanand Maharaj, Bhayyu Maharaj and Pandit Yogendra Mahant are set to enjoy the perks of ministers. The state government says this has been done to facilitate their work as members of a committee for the conservation of the river Narmada. The Babas were included in the group last month.
In trademark saffron robes and dabs of sandalwood on his forehead, Computer Baba reacted to the controversy over his ministerial status. "What's wrong with it? We were rewarded for our work," he said.
The opposition Congress in the state has called it a gimmick by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government to score political points and exploit the following of these Babas.
Congress leader Raj Babbar said in Delhi: "They want to use these saffron-robed babas to win elections. They should learn from what happened when they made a saffron-robed priest a Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh."
State Congress leader Pankaj Chaturvedi quipped, "This is also an effort by the chief minister to wash off his sins. He ignored the conservation of the Narmada."
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan defended the move, saying "We want every section of the society to work towards development and welfare of people and that is why we have attempted to bring together each section of the society".
A case has now been filed in the Madhya Pradesh High Court against the state government's move.
With inputs from PTI