Uddhav Thackeray calls meet, Shirdi bandh called off
Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has called an urgent meeting on Monday to resolve the dispute that had arisen over the birthplace of Sai Baba after Shirdi observed a bandh on Sunday to protest his statement referring Pathri town in Parbhani district as the 'janmasthan' (birthplace) of the prominent 19th century spiritual figure.
However, the bandh was later called off.
As a result, the temple town functioned as usual after 12 noon.
Representatives from Pathri and Shirdi, BJP MLA Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and Shiv Sena MP Sadashiv Lokhade, and the CEO of the Shirdi temple trust, Deepak Madukar Muglikar, will attend the meeting. Mr Lokhande announced the withdrawal of the bandh after meeting with locals on Sunday evening. He said that the Chief Minister has convened a meeting in Mumbai on Monday to discuss the issue.
A row has erupted after the Chief Minister announced a grant of `100 crore for the development of facilities at 'Sai Janmasthan' at Pathri, nearly 273 kilometres away from Shirdi, in Ahmednagar district. To protest this, Shirdi remained shut on Sunday. Shops and eateries downed their shutters and vehicles remained off roads. The Sai Baba temple remained open throughout the day with no report of devotees facing any inconvenience. Meanwhile, residents of Shirdi warned that if the meeting with the Chief Minister fails to bring any satisfactory solution, an aggressive protest will be launched.
Former trustee of the temple, Kailash Kote, said that if the outcome of the Chief Minister's meeting is not satisfactory, then the residents of Shirdi will protest aggressively.
About 500 locals were present at the gram sabha, he said.