Three days ahead of his visit to the Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday called the the 17th century marble wonder “key for pride of India” after a series of controversial statements by several BJP leaders.
“As far as Taj Mahal is concerned, who made it, when was it made, why it was made, these questions should not matter today… Taj Mahal is key for Uttar Pradesh tourism,” said Adityanath.
“The government will put in efforts to develop places which have the potential to be promoted as tourist spots,” he added.
Adityanath’s visit to Agra on October 26 is being seen as an effort to help soothe frayed tempers after his legislator Sangeet Som stirred controversy by calling the Taj Mahal a blot on Indian culture.
Some other right-wing politicians too jumped in and said the Unesco World Heritage Site visited by millions was not representative of the Indian socio-cultural ethos.
The 17th century marble monument was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Both were buried at the Taj Mahal.
Adityanath, whose BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has been accused of ignoring Taj Mahal in the tourism booklet of the state had earlier said that the monument was constructed “by the blood and sweat of Indian labourers”.