Bhaiyyuji was popular in Maharashtra too

Bhaiyyuji Maharaj. (pic @Bhaiyyuji)

Self-styled spiritual leader Bhaiyyuji Maharaj was quite a popular figure in Maharashtra and knew the art of troubleshooting very well.

Whether it is requesting veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare to withdraw his fast - when he was demanding Lokpal at the Ramlila Grounds in New Delhi - or while giving advice and spiritual guidance to late Congressman Vilasrao Deshmukh, Bhaiyyuji was always in the spotlight.

He was also among those who were invited to the 'sadbhawana upwas' by Narendra Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.

Udai Singh Deshmukh, Bhaiyyuji's original name, had connections across party lines, including the Congress, BJP, NCP and the Shiv Sena.

"He was a caring person," said Tushir Kumar Choudhary, the director of Mumbai-based School of Broadcasting and Communication, who knew him for the last decade. "If you go to him with problems, we were assured that it would be taken care of," he added.

As far as social work is concerned, Bhaiyyuji had worked a lot in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions in the areas of water conservation and tackling the issue of farmers' distress. He also used to work on projects related to prisoners, like education.

He enjoyed a good relationship with the late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, his son Uddhav and nephew Raj.

"Bhaiyyuji Maharaj was a charismatic man, very convincing, very forthright," said senior Sena leader and Industries Minister Subhash Desai.

"I knew him personally and this is a setback to me," said BJP leader and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari.

"I cannot believe that he is dead," said NCP leader Dhananjay Munde.

"It is tragic that he has gone at a young age," said former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. "He was not a 'godman' in that sense of the world," Chavan said, adding that Bhaiyyuji was connected to the community.

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Bhaiyyuji was popular in Maharashtra too

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