by Peerzada Arshad Hamid
NEW DELHI, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- The vice president of India's main opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, Wednesday mocked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in northern state of Uttar Pradesh for skipping Taj Mahal in its tourism promotion booklet.
Taj Mahal, described often as one of the "Seven Wonders of the World," has ironically found no mention in a latest booklet released by tourism department of Uttar Pradesh.
The absence of the world famous monument built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 17th century in tourism promotion brochure has evoked a sharp criticism from the opposition parties and civil society groups.
"The brightness of the sun would not reduce if a lamp doesn't shine on it. It is for such a government Bhartendu had written unjust regime of mindless king," Gandhi wrote in Hindi the stinging lines on his Twitter to attack Uttar Pradesh government.
Taj Mahal is the biggest draw for tourists, both domestic and foreign, in India. Every year, it attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists.
Although the booklet has mentioned Gorakhpur temple as a tourist destination in the state along with Hindu religious tourism, the skipping of Taj Mahal, however, has raised eyebrows.
The state's chief minister is the chief priest of Gorakhpur temple.
The booklet titled Apaar Sambhavnaye or Boundless Possibilities, released on Monday marks the completion of six months by the BJP government in the state.
The growing criticism has pushed the BJP government on back foot. With critics saying the skipping of Taj Mahal from the booklet was deliberate, the government describes the omission as an oversight.
A junior minister Sidharth Nath Singh attributed the omission to "miscommunication." To indicate that the government was not neglecting Taj Mahal, he said the Uttar Pradesh government was considering the construction of an international airport at Agra for the convenience of tourists.
Meanwhile, the state's tourism minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi said her government was "committed" to developing the "world famous" Taj Mahal and tourist spots related to it.
"The development of Taj Mahal and Agra is among the priorities of the Central (federal) and State governments," she said.