CM Adityanath visits Taj Mahal, launches major cleanliness drive
Amid recent controversial statements made by the BJP party-men about Taj Mahal, UP CM Yogi Adityanath is finally visiting the 17th century mausoleum. Yogi, on his first visit to Taj since becoming CM, has allocated Rs. 370cr for developmental projects related to the Taj. He will also spend 30 minutes at Mughal emperor Shah Jahan's and his wife Mumtaz Mahal's graves. Here's more!
Why is Yogi visiting the Taj?
Yogi's decision to visit the Taj was announced because controversy erupted after the Taj was ignored in UP tourism's booklet. Following this, some BJP members made controversial statements about it. MLA Sangeet Som called the Taj a "blot on Indian history" and BJP MP Vinay Katiyar said that it was originally a Shiva Temple, a view which Adityanath had shared in 2014.
Yogi changed his views after becoming CM
Yogi had earlier hinted that he is not fond of the Taj. Last year, he lauded PM Narendra Modi's decision of presenting foreign dignitaries with copies of the Bhagvad Gita instead of Taj replicas. However, at a recent Gorakhpur rally, Yogi called the Taj "the pride of India" and referred to it as a 'world class monument built by Indians' blood and sweat'.
Yogi's other plans in Agra
Yogi has launched a mega-cleanliness drive at Taj, with 500 BJP workers/activists sweeping the area around Taj's western gate. He also visited Nangla Paima village' rubber check dam and the Kachhpura village. Ironically, in Kachhpura, once ruled by Raja Maan Singh who might have owned the Taj land, residents were allegedly locked in their homes by the local administration for the CM's security.
Embarrassment to Yogi as he visits the Taj
Meanwhile, in a major embarrassment to Yogi, on Sunday, youngsters in Fatehpur Sikri harassed and chased a Swiss couple. This left the man, Quentin Jeremy with a broken skull and hearing impairment and his girlfriend Marie with a fractured arm.
'Those who practice corruption, communal divide objected my Taj visit'
Yogi and other leaders like Rita Bahuguna addressed the Jan Sabha after the Taj visit. Yogi claimed that many people objected to him visiting the Taj; insinuating them he further said that those people practice communal divide. He reiterated his earlier statement that "Why go into who built Taj Mahal, rather remember that Indian labourers' blood and sweat contributed in constructing this wonder."
Yogi: I'm busy completing schemes started by previous governments
Yogi announced projects worth Rs. 235cr. He said Rs. 65cr was approved for developing Agra airport. If the SC allows, Yogi is planning a rubber dam across Yamuna. He said he had many plans, but was busy completing schemes left pending by previous governments.
Yogi stresses on security for boosting tourism
Yogi claimed that 'everyday about 50,000 tourists visit Agra, but if provided adequate security and amenities, the number will rise to 3L'. He declared that after his government improved safety and security, tourism in the state had increased. Further, he said we believe in "Atithi devo bhava" and so strict action should be taken in the Fatehpur Sikri incident.
Yogi promotes tourism in Agra
Yogi aims to connect different parts of UP to promote tourism and is thus contemplating a Metro railway in Agra. Yogi also inspected a Rs. 141cr Mughal Museum that is under construction and attended "Mohabbat: The Taj" show at Kalakriti Auditorium.
Meanwhile, the opposition tears into Yogi
SP President Akhilesh Yadav taunted Yogi saying "See how time changes...BJP did not consider it (Taj) as heritage...and now the CM is cleaning West Gate of Taj Mahal with a broom." Referring to Yogi's grand Diwali celebrations at Ayodhya, Akhilesh called Yogi's visit as Lord Rama's "kamaal". CPI leader Atul Anjan ridiculed the visit calling it an act of "atonement" for previous provocative statements.