Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Apr 4: Ahead of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Elections 2018, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government in the state on Tuesday granted Minister of State (MoS) status to five Hindu religious and spiritual figures. Before granting them the MoS status, the MP government had appointed them to a committee for Narmada conservation and tree plantation.

As per the order of General Administration Department’s Additional Secretary KK Katiya, the MoS status has been granted to Computer Baba, Bhaiyyuji Maharaj, Narmadanandji, Hariharanandji and Pandit Yogendra Mahant. The department said that as the members of the committee, the five religious leaders had been accorded the MoS status. (Also Read: MP CM Inducts Narayan Singh, Balkrishna And Jalam Singh as Cabinet Ministers)

The Madhya Pradesh Assembly Elections are due this year. Calling the decision to accord the MoS status to five religious leaders as a “political gimmick”, the Congress slammed the BJP-led government for exploiting the respect these leaders have 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 as claimed by the CM,” Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said.

Responding to Congress allegations, BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal said that the party didn’t like 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,’ he said, reported PTI.