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Akhilesh mocks Yogi Adityanath’s Taj Mahal visit, says it’s a ‘miracle’ of Ram

Akhilesh 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.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2017 19:47 IST
M Tariq Khan
M Tariq Khan
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Akhilesh Yadav,Yogi Adityanath‬,‪Dinesh Sharma‬
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath during his visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra on Thursday. (Raju Tomar / HT Photo)

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday mocked Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra and said it was perhaps a “miracle of Bhagwan Ram” that brought Yogi Adityanath to the monument of love.

Yadav, who timed his press conference in Lucknow, to coincide with Adityanath’s visit to Agra, said “how times change” and those who refused to consider the Mughal-era monument a part of Indian heritage were now sweeping its gates.

“I think it must be under pressure from the central government that the UP CM has been forced to undertake the ‘Swach Bharat Mission’ and wield the broom at the west gate of the Taj,” he quipped.

Adityanath’s visit is being seen as a damage control exercise after the 17th-century marble mausoleum received a barrage of negative comments in recent months from top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including the chief minister – who in June said the ivory-white marble mausoleum didn’t represent “Indian culture”.

The chief minister has also declared that the state government will spend Rs 370 crore on development plans aimed at promoting tourism in the city of the Taj Mahal, which was built by Mughal ruler Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

The Samajwadi Party leader also dared the ruling BJP to drop the monument from the list of wonders of the world.

“Couples take a pledge that they would meet at the iconic Taj and get themselves photographed on one of the benches in front of the monument,” Yadav said, adding he was waiting for the chief minister’s picture on the same bench.

Yadav was last Uttar Pradesh chief minister to visit the Taj Mahal more than two years ago on Valentine’s Day. He sat on one of the benches in front of the monument with his wife and Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav.

He posted a black and white photograph of the monument with a couplet on Twitter earlier in the day. “This is what the Taj standing on the banks of the Yamuna says, This is a pilgrimage to love, do keep coming here,” he wrote.

Referring to his party’s national convention in Agra, the former chief minister said the city always proved to be a lucky charm for his party and helped in paving its way to power. Tourists from all over the world visit the monument, he observed.

Yadav also questioned the Central Industrial Security Force’s failure to prevent a group of saffron workers from chanting ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ inside the Taj Mahal in, what he said, was a bid to vitiate communal amity.

He said BJP leaders, who called the Taj a Hindu temple, were deliberately raising such issues to divert people’s attention from the real problems.

Akhilesh, who appealed to the people to support his party’s candidates in upcoming local bodies polls in the state, said the BJP may be wielding the broom but it was the Samajwadi Party that knew how to deal with the trash.

“We will clean the garbage (referring to BJP leaders) in the civic polls as there was no alternative to the SP and our party would win the maximum mayoral seats,” he said.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 14:32 IST