On a day when Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav expressed his admiration for the Taj Mahal to foreign delegates at the Jaypee Palace hotel in Agra, his cabinet member and Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan spoke about razing the 17th century architectural wonder.
The minister on Sunday said while the riots after the Babri Mosque demolition saddened him, he would have led the frenzied crowds had they decided to bring down the Taj Mahal.
"Had people decided to demolish the Taj Mahal instead of the Babri mosque, I would have led them," Azam Khan said at a function in Muzaffarnagar, about 510 km from here.
He was there to distribute cheques to beneficiaries under various government schemes.
"Shah Jahan had no right to spend crores from the public coffers on his sweetheart," he said while comparing the 17th century building to the monuments and statues built by former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati.
Azam Khan is seen as one of the most powerful ministers in the UP government and is known to be a close confidant of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.