Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh unit of Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday termed Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan a “coward” for giving in to the “blackmail” of “hypocrite” babas (religious leaders).
“Chouhan has given in to the blackmailing of babas who had threatened to expose the CM’s Narmada Sewa Yatra. He is a coward. These babas are hypocrites,” MP AAP convenor Alok Agrawal told reporters.
Labour Minister in the Delhi government, Gopal Rai, was also present at the press conference.
The state BJP government had, on Tuesday, accorded Minister of State (MoS) status to five Hindu religious leaders — Narmadanand Maharaj, Hariharanand Maharaj, Computer Baba, Bhayyu Maharaj and Pandit Yogendra Mahant.
Chouhan had last year led the Narmada Sewa Yatra to conserve and revive the river and had claimed that six crore saplings were planted along its banks during the programme.
“These babas had said that they would expose the claim that six crore saplings were planted and had got banners of their Narmada Ghotala Yatra printed. Now after getting MoS status, they are all praise for Chouhan. They are not religious leaders but hypocrites,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader added.
Stating that Chouhan had brought “disgrace”, Agrawal said that he should ask for forgiveness from the eight crore people of Madhya Pradesh.
Earlier in the day, the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad (ABAP), an umbrella body of 13 main ‘akhadas’ (religious orders) in the country, had condemned the five religious leaders and accused them of “blackmailing” Chouhan.
“Saints should not indulge in blackmailing,” ABAB president Mahant Narendra Giri told PTI over phone, calling for the five to introspect.
Speaking on other issues, AAP’s Rai said that his party would contest all 230 seats in the state Assembly polls slated for later this year.