New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Vinay Katiyar on Monday stoked a fresh controversy by saying Taj Mahal will soon become Tej Mandir.
When asked about the ‘Taj Mahostav’ being held in Agra, the MP told ANI, “Call it Taj Mahotsav or Tej Mahotsav both are the same things. There is not much difference between Taj and Tej. Our Tej Mandir has been turned into a cremation ground by Aurangzeb. Taj Mahal will be converted into Tej Mandir soon.”
“It is a good thing that a festival is being organised but this Taj Mahal is not the one that existed during the time of Aurangzeb. It was our temple,” he added.Earlier also, Katiyar had triggered a controversy by saying that Taj Mahal was originally a ‘Shiv Temple’. “It (Taj Mahal) was once a Shiv Temple and a ‘Shivaling’ was also built, which was later removed. There are many other signs that show that Mughal mausoleum is a Hindu Temple,” he had said. A 10-day long Taj Mahotsav will be held in Agra starting from February 18. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the Governor Ram Naik will be the chief guests during the opening day ceremony of the event.
Fresh controversy hit Taj Mahal with reports emerging about a Lord Ram-based dance drama opening the Taj Mahotsav this year. The Yogi Adityanath government’s decision to open 10-day Taj Mahotsav in Agra with Sri Ram Leela has kicked off a row with opposition charging the government with saffronising the festival.
For the first time in its history, the 10-day long Taj Mahostav 2018, will open with a dance-drama on Lord Ram (Ram Leela) based on epic Ramayana instead of showcasing the usual theme of Mughal era art, culture and cuisine. The Festival will begin on February 18 and will end on February 27. The Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the Governor Ram Naik will be the chief guests during the opening day ceremony.
“It is a deliberate attempt to saffronise the Taj Mahotsav by the BJP government. Organising Ram Leela is okay in Ayodhya but what is the logic holding it at world famous Taj Mahal. BJP leaders have already spitted a lot of venom against the monument and the Moghul emperor it will depict the rich legacy of the Mahotsav and monument in bad light before the world,” charged Sunil Sajan, Samajwadi Party MLC and Spokesperson.
The Principal Secretary Tourism Avneesh Awasthi, however, said that the theme of the festival is decided by the people of Agra and Taj Mahotsav Committee every year and state government has no role to play in it.