Amid the Shirdi Bandh which commenced on Sunday, CM Uddhav Thackeray will hold talks with the Shirdi Sansthan Trust members, local leaders to discuss the issue on Monday. Visuals show shops, restaurants keeping their shutters down, maintaining a shutdown till the Chief Minister takes back his statement declaring Pathri as Sai Baba's birthplace. Throughout the bandh, the Saibaba temple will remain open.
श्री साईबाबा यांच्या जन्मस्थळावरून जो वाद सुरू आहे, त्याबाबत मुख्यमंत्री उद्धव ठाकरे सर्व संबंधितांशी सोमवारी (दि. २० ) मंत्रालयात बैठक घेऊन चर्चा करणार— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) January 18, 2020
Shirdi MLA Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and his son Sujay Vikhe Patil have backed the bandh, condemning Thackeray for stirring a controversy over Baba's birthplace which has not been revealed by the saint himself. Moreover, BJP MP Sujay Vikhe Patil has threatened to launch a "legal fight" over the issue, asking why the claims that it was Saibaba's birthplace surfaced only after the new government took over. While BJP backs the bandh, the temple trust has confirmed that apart from the temple, all facilities like free canteen, free hospitals, free lodgings will function regularly as always.
Earlier on January 9, the Maharashtra cabinet held a review meeting of the development works in Parbhani district. In the meeting, CM Uddhav Thackeray announced that Pathri, considered as the birthplace of Saibaba would be developed as a site for religious tourism. Thackeray also announced a grant of Rs.100 crore to Pathri.
This move triggered residents of Shirdi to announce a bandh from January 19 onwards. Moreover, Saibaba Sansthan Trust reportedly slammed Thackeray for confusing the devotees. Reportedly, the residents of Shirdi have the apprehension that the temple will lose its importance if Pathri is declared as the birthplace of Saibaba. The trust has mentioned that they don't have any issues with the Thackeray government issuing funds for Parthi, but do not want it to be declared as Sai baba's birthplace. While Shirdi is known as Saibaba's 'karmabhoomi' and where he attained samadhi, Parthi has been believed to be his birthplace but has never been allegedly proved.