Controversial BJP MLA Surendra Singh today stoked a fresh controversy with his demand to rename Agra-based white mausoleum Taj Mahal as ‘Ram Mahal or Krishna Mahal’. According to a Times Now report, the MLA suggested the structures built by Muslim ruler should not be brought down, but instead be renamed.
He said that building a structure using resources from India’s soil makes it the property of country, adding that therefore, it be referred to the construction workers’ name. “No, no need to destroy. Building structure using resources from the soil of India… it belongs to India. Someone used India’s resources and the construction worker’s name should be there … that’s not correct (calling it Taj Mahal),” Surendra who is an MLA from Bairia constituency in Ballia, said.
When asked what it should be called then, he replied: “Taj Mahal should be renamed as Ram Mahal or Krishna Mahal… what’s wrong in this?”
Asked what’s his preference in this regard, he said, “Agar mera chale to iska naam badal kar rashtrabhakt mahal kar dena chahiye. (If I have my way, it (Taj Mahal) should be renamed as rashtrabhakt mahal).”
The MLA’s suggestions for rechristening of monuments did not stop with the Taj Mahal. He further said that the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata should also be renamed, suggesting it be called ‘Janaki Palace’.
Surendra Singh is known for making controversial remarks and often speaks on religious lines, thus inviting embarrassment to the party. He is the same leader who had backed jailed MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, an accused of raping a Dalit girl in Unnao, and questioned the victim’s character. Recently, he had said that the 2019 general elections will be fought on religious lines and that development will not be an issue.
Taj Mahal has been at a center of controversy ever since the Yogi Adityanath government was formed. In February this year, BJP MP Vinay Katiyar had demanded that the structure should be razed down and described as a bolt on India’s rich culture. Last year, a group of people had assembled inside the premises of Taj Mahal to chant mantras arguing that it is a temple of Lord Shiv and not a mausoleum.