Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has sought an explanation from BJP MLA Sangeet Som on his controversial statement on the Taj Mahal.
Top sources in the BJP confirmed that the MLA has been asked to explain the reason for making the statement that caused a huge row and embarrassment for the party. Sources also claimed that the chief minister has decided to visit the 17th century architectural marvel during his proposed visit to the city on Oct 26 in order to put the controversy to rest.
When contacted, BJP state spokesperson Chandra Mohan said that the party does not agree with the Sardhana MLA’s remarks. He said Som’s views on Taj are “completely his own”. “Our party is doing a lot for development of tourism in Agra and we are making schemes for the same,” he said.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board on Tuesday jumped into the controversy surrounding the Taj Mahal, saying that the monument cannot be a symbol of “worship”. He also alleged that “most Mughals were aiyaash (dissolute)”.
“The Taj Mahal can be a symbol of love but not of worship. Apart from one or two, most Mughals were ‘aiyaash’. Muslims don’t consider them idols,” chairman Syed Waseem Rizvi said.
On Monday, Som had questioned why the monument, which was built by a Mughal emperor “who tried to wipe out Hindus”, is considered part of India’s culture and history, and threatened to “change that history”.
The BJP MLA’s comments had attracted strong criticism from various quarters, including from AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi, who demanded to know if PM Modi will “stop hoisting Tiranga” from the Red Fort, since it was also built by “traitors”.