MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday managed to placate residents of Shirdi whom he assured that Pathri will be developed as a religious place and not as the birthplace of Saibaba.
Shirdi town had observed a bandh on Sunday over a row over the birthplace of 19th-century saint.
In a meeting which was also attended by Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat, Uddhav told the Shirdi representatives that they could have consulted with him before going for the bandh.
Later, BJP MLA Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil told reporters that the outcome of the meeting was satisfactory and hence they have decided to call off the agitation.
Patil said they had no objection on the infrastructure development of Pathri under the religious places development scheme.
“Unnecessary controversy should not be stoked.” Babajani Durani, the NCP legislator from Pathri, said he and other representatives would meet the CM and submit documentary evidence and historical references that prove Saibaba was born at Pathri in Parbhani district. He said that in the 1967 government gazette, it was clearly mentioned that Saibaba was born at Pathri.
“Documents cannot speak lie. Besides, there are other references also. If the residence of Shirdi has documents to refute our claim, then they should put in public domain. I have been trustee of Pathari Saibaba Janmasthal Samiti since 1978. We are going to develop this place as birthplace of Saibaba.”
Durani also said that they are not against Shirdi as Samadhi Sthal of Saibaba, but the town should not object Pathri as the birthplace.
Parbhani’s guardian minister Nawab Malik, meanwhile, said the claim of Pathri as the birthplace of Saibaba was made by President Ram Nath Kovind.
“The signature of presidents is present on things that are approved and implemented. If the BJP legislator has any issue, then he should write to the President of India,” Malik said.Residents of Shirdi feared that if Pathri is developed as the birthplace of Saibaba, then devotees will flock there.
Village seeks funds for development
Villagers of Dhoopkheda in Aurangabad district have demanded funds worth Rs 50 crore for development of the place claiming that Saibaba was first spotted in their village.
Locals passed a resolution demanding funds for infrastructure development, said village sarpanch.