Shirdi: Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil has termed as "unfortunate" the Dwarka Peeth Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand`s statement in which he asked devotees to desist from worshipping Sai Baba of Shirdi.
"The controversy created by the Shankaracharya against Sai Baba is unfortunate. Sai Baba has always preached oneness of God in his life. Shankaracharya should not impose his opinion on others. I strongly condemn his statement," Vikhe Patil said here last night.
Refusing to budge from his stand on Sai Baba, the Shankaracharya had described him as a Muslim ascetic who could not be worshipped like a Hindu deity and said his campaign to protect the Hindu religion will continue even if he is sent to jail.
Vikhe Patil also condemned Swami Premanand of Akhil Bhartiya Sant Parishad for "toeing the seer`s line" on the issue and asking devotees of Sai Baba to not worship him.
Shirdi MP Sadashiv Lokhande of Shiv Sena said that the seer had offended the religious feelings of lakhs of devotees by "running a false propaganda against Sai Baba."
"I will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and apprise him about the feelings of devotees, which are hurt by the seer`s remarks on Sai Baba," the MP said.
Swaroopanand`s comments have caused a lot of furore with devotees of Sai Baba filing cases against him for hurting their sentiments, at various places in the country.
The devotees had also taken out rallies at various places against the seer.