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Taj row: Mayawati demands Jagmohan's head
July 29, 2003 04:17 IST
After publicly demanding that Union Tourism and Culture Minister Jagmohan be sacked over the controversial Taj corridor project, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati raised the ante by calling up and putting forth her demand before Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Mayawati spoke to the prime minister on Monday evening, official sources said but declined to give details.
Earlier in the day, she accused Jagmohan of conniving with her political rivals to drive a wedge between the Centre and the state.
Addressing a press conference in Lucknow, Mayawati alleged that Jagmohan was 'fully aware' of the construction activities near the Taj Mahal in Agra, going on since December 3 last year, but was 'trying to shirk his responsibility'.
She released copies a letter she has written to the prime minister in this regard.
She has complained that 'Jagmohan is trying to convey the impression that only he is concerned about preserving the beauty and historical form of the Taj while the state government is indifferent'.
She said Jagmohan sought to project himself and Union Environment Minister T R Baalu as the 'innocent' party in the entire controversy.
The chief minister said asked how was it that Archaeological Survey of India officials had failed to notice construction work on the corridor project when its office was barely half a kilometre away from the site.
Besides, she pointed out that ASI officials were present in all meetings convened by the divisional commissioner of Agra and Uttar Pradesh chief secretary to discuss the corridor project.
Mayawati demanded an explanation from Jagmohan and threatened that Bahujan Samaj Party MPs would raise the matter in Parliament on Tuesday and 'expose his political conspiracy'.
Rejecting the demand for his dismissal, Jagmohan told reporters in Delhi that the matter is already before the Supreme Court, which has ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the project.
He said the project did not have clearance from either the Union environment or tourism ministries.
The UP BJP unit, a lead partner in the Mayawati-led coalition government, reacted sharply to the chief minister's demand.
"The utterances of the chief minister were uncalled for and inappropriate," state BJP president Vinay Katiyar told PTI in Lucknow.
When asked whether the state unit would take any decision on the matter, Katiyar said as the letter was addressed to Prime Minister Vajpayee, the state BJP would await the central leadership's reaction.
More reports from Uttar Pradesh