Yogi Adityanath Visits Taj, Stops At Shah Jahan’s Grave: 10 Points

AGRA:  Yogi Adityanath picked up the broom today as he arrived at the spectacular Taj Mahal in Agra amid a series of controversial statements by some leaders and ministers from his party, the BJP, against the 17th-century monument including denouncing it as "a blot on Indian culture". He swept a small area outside the Taj, wearing gloves and a baseball hat, as part of a campaign to encourage public cleanliness. The spot had been left dirty for the photo op, the areas around it had been thoroughly cleaned before the Yogi's arrival.




Here are the latest developments:
  1. No BJP Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has ever visited the Taj, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his love for his queen, Mumtaz Mahal.




  1. Yogi Adityanath was expected to spend 30 minutes at the graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.




  1. After being made Chief Minister, he had skipped the Taj Mahal when he visited Agra in May. In June, he said that miniature replicas of the Taj, offered often as gifts to foreign dignitaries, were inappropriate offerings because they are not representative of Indian heritage.




  1. After BJP leaders went on a verbal rampage against the Taj, with Sangeet Som, a lawmaker from the state, alleging it was built by "traitors" who wanted to eliminate all Hindus, the Taj did not feature in a document released by the UP government to highlight top tourist spots in the state.





  1. As the controversy surged, the Yogi, who is a priest from eastern Uttar Pradesh, said it had been built with "the sweat and blood" of Indians and his visit to the monument was promptly scheduled.




  1. The opposition has described the commentary of the BJP leaders against the Taj, one of the seven wonders of the world, as designed to divide Hindus and Muslims in the country's most-populous state.




  1. About four helipads have been readied across Agra for use by the Chief Minister's helicopter today.




  1. The Chief Minister is expected to launch a project to develop a tourist pathway from Taj Mahal to the famous Agra Fort, another popular tourist attraction.




  1. The Chief Minister is also expected to speak about the state's Rs. 370 crore-development plan for the city and the proposed international airport at Agra.





  1. The row has worried thousands in Agra who depend on tourist arrivals to the western Uttar Pradesh city, a few hours away from the national capital. According to government statistics, every fourth foreign visitor to the country visits the Taj but there has been a decline in the number foreign tourists to the white marble mausoleum widely considered one of the world's seven wonders.

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