MUMBAI: A group of Shiv Sena legislators have insisted on Pathri being declared the birthplace of Saibaba and threatened a Shirdi like stir, should their version not be taken into account. The legislators also plan on meeting Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray soon.
The controversy over the birthplace of Saibaba had resulted in a shutdown in the temple town of Shirdi for two days, which was taken back only after a reconciliation was arrived at a meeting with the CM last Monday.
The Shiv Sena legislators, however, are ‘not reconciled’ to Shirdi in Ahmednagar district being linked to Saibaba’s birth pointing that historical evidence was on Pathri’s side.
Rahul Patil, Shiv Sena legislator from Parbhani, said that Pathri villagers had decided they would stand firm on their demand.
“We are firm on our demand.
We have documentary evidence and historical references to establish that Saibaba was born in Pathri. If residents of Shirdi can go on strike to corner the state, we too can,” Patil said. Babaji Durani, NCP legislator said “People of Pathri are ready to sacrifice the sanctioned Rs 100 crore fund of Maharashtra government, but would not accept the decision to develop Pathri as a ‘normal pilgrim place.”
“Saibaba was born in Pathri. It’s a historical fact. If anyone, including Shirdi residents, have any doubts, then the government should set up an experts committee to unearth the fact. The chief minister should listen to both the sides and then take the decision. He should not succumb to the pressure of Shirdi,” Durani said. Observers believe that Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, the BJP legislator who virtually controls the Rs 500 crore Shirdi Trust is trying to cultivate the chief minister using the Shirdi issue.
Vikhe Patil had left the Congress and joined the BJP ahead of the state polls in the hope of power.