Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on 26 October said that the onus of the security and preservation of Taj Mahal lay on the shoulders of the Indian people.
Alluding the recent controversy regarding Taj Mahal, the chief minister who was addressing a public rally here at GIC Grounds, said: "We should not go into the details like who built Taj Mahal or why was it built, but the most important thing is that Taj Mahal was built by blood and sweat of Indian labourers who gave one of the precious gems of Indian architecture to the world. The onus of its security and preservation lies on our shoulders."
It is pertinent to mention here that Adityanath's Agra visit assumes significance as it comes against the backdrop of the controversial statement made by BJP MLA Sangeet Som regarding the status of the 17th-century monument in India's culture.
Som said that Taj Mahal was built by "traitors" who wanted to eliminate all Hindus.
Yogi government was also in the news when the Taj did not feature in a document released by the UP government to highlight top tourist spots in the state.
Meanwhile, Adityanath also praised the heritage city by saying that Agra is the only city in Uttar Pradesh with five world heritage sites- Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Sikandra, and Tomb of I'timad-ud-Daulah.
"These all sites have great potential of tourism," he said.
Earlier in the day, Adityanath visited Taj Mahal on his maiden trip to the mausoleum of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal, after being sworn into office earlier this year.
Adityanath picked up the broom as he arrived at the monument. He swept a small area outside the Taj off the filth.
While addressing the rally, Adityanath said those who divided society on the basis of castes were raising questions over his Agra visit.
"Only those people are raising questions over my Agra visit who have divided the society on the basis of castes," the chief minister said.
Yogi also said the government is committed to increase the tourist facilities in Agra.
"Everyday 40,000-50,000 tourists come to Agra, if we can provide them adequate security; the number will rise to 2.5 lakh - 3 lakh," Adityanath said, adding that this will not only help tourism but would also generate employment.
The chief minister has already declared that the state government will spend Rs 370 crore on development plans aimed at promoting tourism in the city of the Taj.