Controversial self-styled godman Namdeo Das Tyagi aka ‘Computer Baba’ on Saturday took part in the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Madhya Pradesh, with the ruling BJP wondering how an accused person like him who was arrested in an encroachment case in the past could walk with Rahul Gandhi.
Tyagi was booked and arrested in 2020 for allegedly manhandling a panchayat staffer before the demolition of alleged illegal construction at his ashram near Indore.
Tyagi joined Gandhi in the yatra at Mahudiya village in Agar Malwa district in the morning. He was seen interacting with Gandhi and senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, and walked with them for a few minutes.
BJP leader Narendra Saluja, who recently quit the Congress and joined the saffron party, said, “After Kanhaiya Kumar and actor Swara Bhasker, now Computer Baba…? What kind of Jodo Yatra is it?” He alleged that ‘Computer Baba’ is an accused in cases related to encroaching government land and others, and was in jail on these charges.
“How can a person like him match steps with Gandhi in his Bharat Jodo Yatra?” he asked.
Responding to BJP’s criticism, former Congress minister Rajkumar Patel said that several seers and religious leaders were becoming part of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“Everyone is welcome to join the yatra as it is in the interest of the country,” he said.
On BJP targeting the Congress over Computer Baba’s participation in the foot march despite facing cases, he said, “It has nothing to do with the yatra. They (BJP) are free to probe allegations and nobody has stopped them from doing so.”
The case against Tyagi had been registered in November 2020 for allegedly manhandling a panchayat staffer.
The authorities had then claimed that they had freed 40,000 sq ft of land worth Rs 13 crore from alleged encroachment by Tyagi.
His ashram, constructed illegally on government land at Jamboodi Hapsi village, was demolished by the district administration, they had said.
Tyagi was accorded a Minister of State (MoS) status in 2018 by the then Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government.
He was appointed as the chairman of a river conservation trust.
However, his bonhomie with the BJP ended after he raised the issue of illegal mining going on in the Narmada river and also demanded a helicopter to survey the river. In the last Assembly election, he had worked for the Congress.