Lucknow: In a clear snub to his MLA Sangeet Som for stirring the Taj Mahal controversy, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is set to visit the monument on October 26.
This would be the maiden visit by the CM to the mausoleum of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, after being sworn into office earlier this year.
Sources said that the CM spoke to Som seeking an explanation on his statement calling the Taj Mahal a “blot on Indian culture”.
"Many people were disappointed that the Taj Mahal was removed from UP tourism booklet. What history are we talking about? The creator of Taj Mahal (Shahjahan) imprisoned his father. He wanted to wipe out Hindus. If these people are part of our history, then it is very sad and we will change this history," Som had said.
"It is immaterial as to who and how the Taj Mahal was built... It was made by the sweat and blood of Bharat Mata's sons," the Chief Ninister said in Gorakhpur, according to PTI.
"It is famous the world over for its architecture... it is a historical monument and its protection and further development for tourism is the responsibility of the government," he added.
Reacting to the incident, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan had jumped into the controversy and called the Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhavan and Qutub Minar "signs of slavery".
"From the very beginning, I've been saying that all signs of slavery should be removed. Why just Taj Mahal? They should remove Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Red Fort and even Qutub Minar. All of these are signs of slavery," said Khan.
Adityanath also announcing that he would visit Agra on October 26 and there was a Rs 370 crore work plan for the city. He said it was the duty of the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure that proper security and facilities were extended to tourists.
Earlier, the BJP had backed its MLA and described Muslim rule in India as "barbaric and a period of incomparable intolerance", while asserting that its members can hold any opinion they want on specific monuments.
Party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said the party does not have any view on specific monuments and its members can hold whatever opinion they have. "But as far as the Muslim, Mughal rule in this country is concerned, that period can only be described as exploitative, barbaric and a period of incomparable intolerance which harmed Indian civilisation and traditions immensely," he said.
(With PTI inputs)