New Delhi, Apr 4: Reacting to the criticism on giving the status of state minister to five “sadhus”, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan said that the intent behind the move was to make every section of the society work towards development and welfare of people. He said the government had attempted to bring together each section of the society.

“We want every section of the society to work towards development & welfare of people & that is why we have attempted to bring together each section of the society,” he said.

The Madhya Pradesh government gave the status of Miniter of State to Narmadanand Maharaj, Hariharanand Maharaj, Computer Baba, Bhayyu Maharaj and Pandit Yogendra Mahant. On March 31, the five religious leaders were appointed to a committee set up for the Narmada river conservation.

The Congress called the move to give the status of MoS to the seers as an attempt to exploit the respect the religious leaders enjoy among the masses. The BJP hit back saying the opposition party didn’t like anything related to seers.

Meanwhile, two religious leaders have withdrawn their protest against the government, a day after being given the MoS status. Computer Baba had earlier announced to take out the ‘Narmada Ghotala Rath Yatra’ along with Yogendra Mahant in every district of MP from April 1 to May 15, to expose the alleged scam in planting saplings on the banks of the Narmada river and to demand a ban on illegal sand mining. However, after the formation of the committee and the announcement of MoS, he said there was no need for a protest.

“Now why would we take out the yatra?” he said.

On accepting the government facilities meant for an MoS despite being a saint, he said, “If we do not get the post and other government facilities, how can we work for the protection of the Narmada.”

“As a member of the committee, we have to talk to the district collectors and look after other necessary arrangements for the river’s conservation. A government status is required for these works,” he added.

(With Agency Inputs)