CM Yogi Adityanath arrives in Agra on a 'damage control' trip
Agra: Amid growing controversies on the 'TAJ', Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath arrived in the city on Thursday, on a visit seen as a damage control exercise.
He also wielded a broom to launch the 'swacchta abhiyaan' (cleanliness drive) at the western gate of the Taj Mahal. He spent about 30 minutes there.
The visit comes in the backdrop of statements by BJP leaders saying the 17th century Mughal-built Taj was a blot on Indian culture and history which had triggered a backlash from many quarters, forcing the Bharatya Janata Party to distance itself from the comments.
Later, the Chief Minister announced he would visit the Taj Mahal and said the monument had been built by the sweat and blood of Indian labourers.
As he arrived amid tight security, BJP activists shouted slogans hailing him as well as 'Jai Shri Ram'.
Adityanath is set to unveil a Rs 150 crore package during his day's visit to the Taj city, which he last visited on May 7.
Municipal corporation polls are likely to be announced soon and the BJP government in the state is trying to ensure that there is no hostility for the ruling party before or during the electoral process.
He CM also visited the Nagla Pema area where a rubber check dam is likely to be constructed.
Locals are hoping that the Chief Minister will unfold a package for infrastructural development of Agra and soothe frayed tempers ignited by a series of controversial statements by politicians on the Taj Mahal.
The Chief Minister is also scheduled to launch Pro-Poor Tourism projects and address a public gathering at the GIC ground later in the day.
Adityanath's visit to the Taj city comes after BJP MLA Sangeet Som had stirred controversy last week when he called the 17th century marble wonder a blot on Indian culture, while some other right-wing politicians have said the UNESCO World Heritage Site visited by millions was not representative of the Indian socio-cultural ethos.