It is a matter of some relief that better sense has prevailed on the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has sought to undo the damage caused on the Taj Mahal issue by the non-inclusion of the world-famous monument in the State government’s list of tourist attractions and by some obnoxious statements by a party legislator Sangeet Som. Not only has Adityanath visited what is one of the world’s seven top wonders but, as if in atonement, he has restored the pride of the Taj in tourist literature and called the Mughal-era wonder as “India’s rare gem.”
His categorical assertion that his government is committed to its conservation should set at rest the ugly controversy that had caused nationwide outrage and consternation. The Chief Minister also laid the foundation stone of a tourist pathway connecting the Taj to the Agra fort. Reiterating his earlier remarks that the 17th century monument had been built “by the blood and sweat” of India’s sons and labourers he said that there was no need to delve deeper into the details of why, when and how.
The controversy had been sparked off by Sangeet Som who had questioned Taj Mahal’s place in history and vowed to erase the “blot” of Mughal kings from history books. Another legislator from north Agra had told reporters that the Mughals demolished a temple before building the Taj Mahal. Another party leader Vinay Katiyar had made similar comments even as Yogi Adityanath was seeking to defuse the issue while he was at the monument.
It is sad indeed that statements like those of Sangeet Som have been queering the pitch for the BJP and the party’s leadership has to firefight to douse flames from time to time as the media laps up controversial statements and Opposition forces do everything possible to cause damage. In practically all such cases, the party high command takes its own time in refuting the irresponsible and inflammatory statements. The party must resort to reflex action and take punitive action against recalcitrants who put the clock back for the party.