After attracting criticism for his remark on the Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday visited the Mughal era monument and also swept the road outside the western gate of the Taj Mahal. He however, while addressing a public meeting later in the day, reiterated his previous remarks that the monument was built “by the blood and sweat” of India’s sons and labourers.
In the meeting, CM Adityanath listed the projects being undertaken by the state government to develop Agra. An amount of Rs 350 crore has been allocated to build a dam to improve water supply in the city, he said. An inner ring road and an international airport will soon come up in Agra, he added.
Taking a jibe at the previous Samajwadi Party government, he said during the tenure of the SP government only criminals prospered and corruption increased. He also accused the previous state government of disturbing the social fabric of the state and ignoring the interests of the common man.
Earlier in the day, Adityanath spent close to 30 minutes at the graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal before proceeding to visit the nearby Shah Jahan park. He also inspected the site on which a Mughal museum is being built at a cost of Rs 141 crore.
The CM’s visit to the monument,which is being widely viewed as a damage control exercise following the controversy over its place in Indian heritage, was the visit by a BJP chief minister of the state. The last time a Uttar Pradesh chief minister visited Taj Mahal was two years ago, when Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple Yadav arrived at the monument on Valentine’s Day.
The CM entered the monument and inspected the four minarets. He later exited the Taj Mahal complex in a battery-operated cart. He laid the foundation stone for a tourist pathway connecting Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.
Though there are no restrictions on tourists visiting Taj Mahal but the security has been stepped up owing to Yogi Adityanath’s visit. An official told PTI that over 14,000 police personnel have been deployed across Agra.