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Controversy over birthplace of Saibaba resolved after Uddhav Thackeray hold meeting

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Mumbai, Jan 20: The controversy over the birthplace of the 19th-century saint Saibaba was resolved after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday met residents of temple town Shirdi, where a bandh was observed on Sunday amid a row over the birthplace.

Reportedly, the bandh was withdrawn in view of the meeting called by Thackeray in Mumbai to discuss the issue.

Representational Image

After the meeting, Shiv Sena MP Sadashiv Lokhande said that Thackeray along with Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar held a detailed discussion with Sai Baba Trust representatives.

"The controversy over the birthplace of Saibaba has been resolved in the meeting with the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray," Lokhande told PTI.

According to PTI, on January 9, the Maharashtra cabinet held a review meeting of the development works in Parbhani district.

In the meeting, the Maharashtra CM had announced that Pathri, considered as the birthplace of Saibaba would be developed as a site for religious tourism.

Besides this, he also announced a grant of Rs 100 crore to Pathri.

Shiv Sena MP, Lokhande said that Thackeray on Monday withdrew his statement where he declared Saibaba's birthplace as Pathri.

However, there was no official confirmation for the same.

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Lokhande has stated that Thackeray asked the Shirdi temple representatives if they have an issue with the allocation of Rs 100 crore for the development of Pathri to which they said their opposition was only to the declaration of Pathri as Saibaba's birthplace and not for any development initiative.

The controversy over the birthplace of the spiritual saint begun in Maharashtra century after his soul left for the divine abode, with some claiming it is Pathri in Parbhani district and other saying it was Shirdi in Ahmednagar district.

Saibaba is equally revered by Hindus and Muslims. Locals of Shirdi, located 250 km away from Mumbai, observed a one-day bandh on Sunday, with shops and businesses in a majority of the villages remaining shut.

As per the report, after the meeting, BJP MLA Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil told reporters that the outcome of the meeting with the chief minister was satisfactory and hence they have decided to call off the agitation.

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