Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 17 (PTI) Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam said today that the Taj Mahal was “India’s pride” and core of tourism circuit, after a BJP MLA questioned the monument’s place in the country’s heritage.

“Taj Mahal is India’s pride. There is no doubt, we hold pride in Taj Mahal,” he told a private news channel here.

He also said the government had “elaborate plans” for the historical monument.

Stating that BJP’s stand on the issue was very clear, Kannanthanam said, “Taj is core of tourism circuit. The UP government is developing new destinations and Taj is already hugely popular.”

Kannanthanam’s comment comes a day after Uttar Pradesh BJP MLA Sangeet Som questioned the the 17th century architectural marvel place in India’s heritage and said history would be rewritten to erase Mughal emperors from it.

Som, the party’s legislator from Sardhana, also distorted history to say it was built by an emperor who had imprisoned his father and targeted Hindus.

Announcing that he would visit Agra next week to review tourism schemes, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said today that the Taj Mahal was a historical monument regardless of the emperor who had built it.

“It is immaterial as to who and how the Taj Mahal was built… It was made by the sweat and blood of Bharat Mata’s sons,” the chief minister said in Gorakhpur.

Som’s comments on the Taj Mahal had come after the Adityanath government reportedly omitted the 17th century monument from an official booklet on tourist destinations.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.