Days after the row over the absence of the Taj Mahal from a UP government booklet on tourism projects، a cabinet minister of the state said on Monday the 17th-century monument was "rightly kept out and should instead be replaced with the Guru Gorakhnath peeth"، Times of India reported.
Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary، the minister in charge of religious affairs and culture، claimed this was necessary as the present UP government was "rashtravadi (nationalist)" and runs on "dharm niti (religious policy)".
"Taj Mahal is not the symbol of any religion and (it is) nobody's. It does not represent any religion،" Chaudhary said at an event in Hathras organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
He added، "On the other hand، Gorakhnath peeth represents people's faith." When someone pointed out that the Unesco heritage site was hailed as one of the world's wonders، he said، "Those who included the monument in that list must have been of a similar taste (mizaz) as those who built it."
The absence of the Taj Mahal from the UP government's booklet on ongoing and future tourism projects had triggered a massive outcry last week. Later، UP tourism director general Avneesh Awasthi had said the booklet was not "a compendium of tourist attractions... just a book to highlight the works done by the incumbent government and projects it plans to take up".