Residents of Shirdi, a place famous for its grand Sai Baba Temple, called off the indefinite period of Shutdown in Shirdi which in first place was done over Maharashtra CM, Uddhav Thackeray’s remark about Sai Baba’s birthplace.
The call for an indefinite bandh was taken in the early hours of the day following a row over the purported birthplace of its revered saint. But later this evening the villagers decided to hold a meeting and the end result was to withdraw the bandh in view of the meeting with the Chief Minister.
The town of Shirdi which stand with a population of around 37,000, plus around two dozen villages, had called for the ‘bandh’ to protest the claim of Pathri village in Parbhani that the 19th century saint was born there. All shops and commercial establishments, hotels and restaurants, remained shut from midnight.
However, the Sai Baba Samadhi Temple functioned as usual, with the poojas and aartis performed as per schedules.
The protesters earlier rejected the request of Chief Minister Thackeray and other leaders of the ruling Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress to call off the bandh, and threatened to continue till their demand is met.
This whole issue gained attention after Thackeray, who on his last week visit of Pathri, termed it as the ‘birthplace’ of Sai Baba and announced a Rs 100-crore grant to develop the temple and surrounding areas on the lines of Shirdi, where Sai Baba had spent his life of preaching and teaching till he took ‘Samadhi’ in October 1918.
BJP leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil quickly cut loose and informed the media that the people of Shirdi have no objections if funds are sanctioned for Pathri’s development but had reservations to according it the status of “Sai Baba birthplace”.
Taking cognizance of the Shirdi citizens’ strong sentiments, Thackeray has convened a meeting in Mumbai on Monday to resolve the sensitive subject.