Computer Baba, the self-styled godman granted the status of minister in the previous BJP government in Madhya Pradesh, has managed a neat survival trick by landing a role in the new Congress administration too. The Baba, born Namdev Tyagi, was appointed chairman of the Ma Narmada, Ma Kshipra evam Ma Mandakini River Trust (the rivers Narmada, Kshipra and Mandakini Trust) today.
Computer Baba was one of the five sadhus or religious leaders given the status of minister last April by then Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who faced much criticism over the decision. The "sadhu-ministers", who had been on a protest against the BJP government, were given the responsibility of cleaning up river Narmada. The Congress had then said the BJP government was only bothered about winning over Hindu religious leaders in an election year.
In October, Computer Baba announced his resignation and then backtracked, saying he had not quit just yet but that he was disappointed. Then he finally did quit.
There was speculation that he was joining the Congress. Computer Baba denied it.
But in a dead giveaway, he campaigned against the BJP in the December Madhya Pradesh election.
The order simply read: "The state government has appointed Namdev Das Tyagi aka Computer Baba, resident of Gommat Giri Ashram, Indore, as chairman of 'Ma Narmada, Ma Kshipra and Ma Mandakini Nadi Nyas (River Trust)' till further orders. The appointment will be effective with immediate effect."
Computer Baba now says he will do his best to stop illegal sand mining around the Narmada, something that the previous government did nothing about.