While Shirdi is observing an indefinite bandh amid the Saibaba birthplace row, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam, on Sunday advised CM Uddhav Thackeray to not intervene in people's faith. The former Shiv Sena leader added that while the CM announced that Saibaba's birthplace was Parthi, devotees believed that Sai Baba was from Shirdi. Incidentally, Nirupam's co-party leader and former Maharashtra CM, Ashok Chavan has hailed the move, stating that the creation of facilities for devotees at Pathri should not be opposed over the controversy over birthplace.
आस्था और असलियत के बीच हमेशा तलवारें खिंची हैं।— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) January 19, 2020
महाराष्ट्र के मुख्यमंत्री ने कह दिया कि साई बाबा पारथी में जन्मे थे।
साईभक्तों का विश्वास है कि साई शिरडी के थे।
भक्त गुस्से से तमतमाए हैं।
मुख्यमंत्री के बयान के खिलाफ आज शिरडी बंद है।
आस्था से न उलझें तो उचित होगा।#SaiBaba
Meanwhile, CM Uddhav Thackeray will hold talks with the Shirdi Sansthan Trust members, local leaders to discuss the issue on Monday. Currently, shops, restaurants are 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 and 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. 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.