Shirdi: The shutdown observed in Shirdi over statements made by Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on the Saibaba's birthplace has been called off after Sunday midnight, according to Shiv Sena MP Sadashiv Lokhande.
The announcement was made by the Shiv Sena MP from Shirdi after a meeting with local people on Sunday evening.
He said chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has convened a meeting in Mumbai on Monday to discuss the issue with temple officials.
Representatives from Pathri and Shirdi, BJP MLA Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Lokhade and Shirdi Temple Trust CEO will attend the meeting.
The pilgrimage town observed a shutdown Sunday to protest Thackeray's statement on the birthplace of the Saibaba, a spiritual figure of the 19th century who is revered by Hindus and Muslims.
However, the Saibaba temple remained open throughout the day while shops and eateries downed shutters and vehicles remained off the roads.
A former member of the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (SSST) said residents of Shirdi provided food and water to devotees visiting the shrine.
The shutdown was observed in at least 25 villages around Shirdi.
The row erupted after Thackeray announced a grant of Rs 100 crore for development of ‘Sai janmasthan’ (birthplace) at Pathri in Parbhani district, nearly 273 km away from Shirdi in Ahmednagar district.
The issue of Saibaba's birthplace came into prominence in 2017, when President Ram Nath Kovind stated that Saibaba was born in Pathri.
There are many beliefs about the actual birthplace of the mystic saint, who enjoys a masssive following.
The residents of Pathri village often cite Saibaba's biography 'Sri Saisachharitra' to claim that he was born in their town.
Referring to the President's reference, Shiv Sena MP Lokhande said, "Some devotees say when President Ram Nath Kovind came here on October 1, 2017 for the inauguration of thecentenary of Saibaba's samadhi, he said Shirdi was baba's karmabhoomi and Pathri was his birthplace. I went to meet the President along with some Shirdi locals and explained to him about his comments regarding Pathri."
"The President said the information had been given to him by officials. He even expressed regret," he claimed.
Lokhande said he would meet Thackeray and try to resolve the controversy....