Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav today made light of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s visit to the Taj Mahal, saying it is Lord Rama’s “kamaal” (wonder). Adityanath had to visit the Taj Mahal under pressure from the Centre, the SP leader charged. “See how time changes…BJP did not consider it as heritage…and now the CM is cleaning West Gate of the Taj Mahal with a ‘jhadu’ (broom),” Yadav told reporters here. “It’s good that SP workers from Agra have come here, otherwise they would have used broom at West Gate of the Taj. He(CM) is wielding broom there. We have nothing to do with it. It is Lord Rama’s ‘kamaal’,” he said. Tourists from all over the world visit the monument, he observed. “I am waiting for him to get clicked on that seat (with the Taj Mahal in the background),” he said. “BJP men had termed the Taj Mahal as Shiva Temple. Some termed it as a blot on Indian culture. But, in view of criticism in various quarters, the CM had to visit the Taj under pressure from Centre,” he said.
Yadav had visited the Taj as the UP chief minister over two years ago on Valentine’s Day and sat on one of the benches in front of the monument along with his wife and Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav. Adityanath’s visit is seen by many as a damage control exercise after a series of controversies erupted, beginning with a UP tourism department booklet not mentioning the white marble monument in its list of development projects in the state. At a rally in Bihar last year, Adityanath had said that the Taj does not represent Indian culture and that visiting foreign dignitaries should be presented with the Gita rather than replicas of Taj Mahal.
On a young Swiss couple being attacked by a group of youths in Fatehpur Sikri near Agra, the SP chief charged, “It must be BJP men behind the incident. Some people performed puja in Taj Mahal premises wearing saffron clothes. They want to ruin tourism of the country. I challenge BJP to remove the Taj Mahal from the list of heritage sites and seven wonders.” The SP chief appealed to the people to support his party candidates in local bodies polls in the state that will be held soon. “The polls to clean trash is near. I can assure that only the SP is capable of cleaning the garbage as it understands where to throw it,” he said.
Yadav also attacked the state government for its “failure” on law and order front and blamed the Centre for “ruining” traders with demonetisation and GST. “The BJP government has ruined the economy,” he alleged. About Gujarat Assembly polls, he said, “People of Gujarat have decided whom to vote and the BJP is going to lose there.” “Our party will contest five seats in Gujarat. We have sought five of the 182 seats from Congress and will support Congress in the remaining seats. We will contest five seats and that is final,” he said.