Bhayyuji maharaj , a popular spiritual leader recently given the status of minister by the Madhya Pradesh government, allegedly committed suicide on Tuesday by shooting himself in the head.
Reports suggest Bhaiyyuji Maharaj, born Uday Singh Deshmukh, shot himself over “domestic issues” at his ashram in Indore. The police have reportedly found a suicide note that indicated that the 50-year-old was “depressed”. He was declared dead at the Bombay hospital in Indore.
“Bhayyuji Maharaj has been brought here in serious condition. Through investigation, it has been found that he shot himself,” police officer Jayant Rathore told before it was confirmed that the guru had died.
Among the first to express his grief was Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who had provoked opposition anger earlier this year by appointing Bhaiyyu Maharaj and four other “sadhus” as ministers.
The self-styled guru was known for his links with influential politicians and businessmen. He reportedly counted Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar among his followers.
Bhayyuji Maharaj acted as a mediator during the 2011 anti-corruption campaign led by Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal.
He was popular in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Scores of his supporters crowded outside the hospital waiting for news on his condition.
Bhayyuji Maharaj refused to accept minister status saying “a post has no importance to a saint.”
Lacerated by the opposition, the state government justified the controversial move saying it was to facilitate their work as members of a committee for the conservation of the river Narmada.