Mumbai: Political leaders cutting across the party lines expressed shock over the death of spiritual guru Bhaiyyu Maharaj, who allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself in Indore today.
"Learnt about the death of spiritual guru Shri Bhaiyyuji Maharaj. I had personal relationship with him. His untimely death is saddening. My humble tributes," Union minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed similar sentiments and hailed the spiritual guru for the "huge work" he did for the deprived in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Fadnavis said farmers and tribals were at the centre of Bhaiyyu Maharaj's activities.
"Bhaiyyu Maharaj's work towards land reforms, water conservation, farmers (welfare) and education of children will always be remembered. Tributes to him! "Am part of mourning of his big family and followers," the chief minister said on Twitter.
Hailing Bhaiyyu Maharaj for carrying forward the legacy of spirituality in Maharashtra, Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said the news of his death was "shocking and unbelievable".
"The untimely death of Bhaiyyuji Maharaj, who was ever smiling, enthusiastic and one giving energy, is saddening. #RIP #BhaiyyujiMaharaj," the Congress leader said on Twitter. His party colleague and former state chief minister Prithviraj Chavan remembered the spiritual leader for his social and political work, which he said was aimed at helping the common people.
"A lot of political people used to meet him. He was a spiritual person, who motivated people to do good. He visited Maharashtra frequently and met a lot of people and was also involved in social work here," Chavan said in his condolence message.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik also expressed grief and observed that the spiritual leader had taken part in several social works in Maharashtra and MP. "May his soul rest in peace," Malik said on the micro-blogging site. The 50-year-old spiritual leader allegedly shot himself at his home in Indore, police said.
Bhaiyyu Maharaj, whose original name was Uday Singh Deshmukh, was one of the five 'saints' to whom the Shivraj Singh government in Madhya Pradesh had granted Minister of State (MoS) rank in April. However, he had refused to accept it, saying "a post holds no importance for a saint".