BY CHANDRAKANT NAIDU
Bhopal, June 5 (IANS) Namdev Das Tyagi, aka, Computer Baba, who joined office at the state secretariat here as chairman of the Narmada-Mandakini-Kshipra trust with ministerial rank on Tuesday, did not waste even an hour after taking charge to demand a helicopter within a week to inspect the Narmada River.
Tyagi assumed charge amid rituals and chanting of mantras in the presence of former chief minister Digvijaya Singh, state Law Minister P.C. Sharma and a few religious functionaries.
No one should be surprised if the Baba gets a chopper to survey the Narmada. The baba said he wants the job expedited. Any other means would delay action.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath had handed the job of rejuvenating the holy river to Tyagi, saying the river would get a new life. “We will form a Narmada Sena for the task. The previous Shivraj Chouhan government was corrupt to the core,” Nath had said. He said there should be no objection to ‘babas’ coming into the government. There is one already running a state government, he had said, referring to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
‘Computer Baba’ had campaigned for Digviajaya Singh during the recent Lok Sabha elections. He had conducted a havan to ensure Singh’s victory. He had also announced that Prime MInister Narendra Modi would lose the Lok Sabha Election and that BJP would never win. The results are out now and the state government’s persistence with the mumbo-jumbo of godmen is drawing derisive comments from people.
After the Congress was trounced, the Baba said the sanyasis (seers) don’t support any political party. They stand by the religion while the parties come and go.
On May 9 the Bhopal police had lodged an FIR against the Baba, ironically, on a complaint from the BJP saying the Baba was fanning communal sentiments.
On May 7 he had performed ‘Hath Yoga’ and performed a ‘chillies havan mahyagna’ along with Digvijaya Singh and his wife to ensure Singh’s victory. This had prompted the Election Commission to serve a notice on him for violation of Model Code of Conduct. The Baba promptly said he had not invited the Singh couple to the havan. “I don’t know whether Singh and his wife were present at the spot or not. I didn’t invite them. The camp was set up from the donations received,” the Baba said.
The Baba has been in and out of news and governments of rival parties in the state in the name of guarding the interest of the people on the banks of the Narmada.
Over a year ago when former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had carried out a yatra along the river and claimed to have planted six crore sapling on the banks, the Baba was up in arms against government’s alleged corruption and for polluting the sacred river by conniving with sand mining mafia.
Chouhan had inducted him in a panel to rejuvenate the river and accorded him ministerial rank. He was often seen hobnobbing with the press in the coffee house of Bhopal. Baba’s demands continued to rise and finally, he left the ministry ahead of assembly elections to campaign for the Congress. He started accusing the BJP of being irreligious and said Shivraj was ignoring the cause of cow protection. This was when one of his rival baba was appointed a cabinet minister in the ministry for cow protection.
He was among the prominent invitees during the swearing-in ceremony of Chief Minister Kamal Nath. Computer Baba was appointed chairman of a trust by the Congress on March 10.
To avoid action for violation of electoral code, he had delayed taking charge till after the elections.
BY CHANDRAKANT NAIDU