Taking a legal turn on the Saibaba birthplace row, officials of the Sai Janmabhoomi Pathri Sansthan on Thursday has decided to move the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court challenging CM Uddhav Thackeray's retraction under Shirdi's pressure. The institution's chief Sitaramji Dhanu and member NCP MLA Babajani Durani have announced that the trust will soon file a petition in the Aurangabad bench. This move comes after Sena's Parbhani MP Sanjay Jadhav met CM Uddhav Thackeray and was assured that Thackeray will take a decision on the row soon.
Earlier on Tuesday, protests broke out in Maharashtra's Pathri as Sai Baba devotees and Pathri locals fumed over Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray buckling under Shirdi's pressure. Politicians from Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP have vowed to go as a delegation to the CM and present their case. A local Congress leader has even left the option open to go to court if their demands are not addressed adding that a district-wide bandh will be called in Pathri.
After facing backlash from the Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan Trust and agitated devotees, Uddhav Thackeray on Monday withdrew his statement where he declared Sai Baba's birthplace as Pathri. Shiv Sena MP Sadashiv Lokhande told Republic TV that Thackeray along with deputy CM Ajit Pawar held a detailed discussion with Sai Baba trust representatives after which the CM took back his statement. The Rs.100 crore grant awarded to Pathri's development is still valid as politicians said they had objections to it only the birthplace declaration.
Earlier on January 9, CM Uddhav Thackeray announced that Pathri, considered as the birthplace of Sai Baba would be developed as a site for religious tourism, allocating a Rs.100 crore grant. This move triggered residents of Shirdi to announce a bandh on January 19 with shops, restaurants keeping their shutters down, maintaining a shutdown till the Chief Minister takes back his statement. Throughout the bandh, the Saibaba temple remained open and all facilities like free canteen, free hospitals, free lodgings functioning as always. The Sai baba birthplace row is due because while Shirdi is known as Sai Baba's 'karmabhoomi' and where he attained samadhi, Parthi has been believed to be his birthplace but has never been allegedly proved.