Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday praised Yogi Adityanath for rising above "superstitions" that Uttar Pradesh chief ministers lose office whenever they visit this Delhi suburb in what is known as 'Noida jinx', saying "blind faith' is not desirable.
Modi also said that if anybody thinks that not going to a place will prolong their chief ministerial tenure and visiting a place will curtail it such a person does not deserve to be a chief minister.
Adityanath visited Noida twice in three days rubbishing a widely believed myth in Uttar Pradesh's political and bureaucratic circles that a chief minister visiting Noida would face problems retaining his or her post.
In this Delhi suburb to inaugurate the Metro's Magenta line, Modi pointed to the saffron robed Adityanath and said that looking at his dress, the chief minister appeared to be superstitious, but had actually shown that he had the courage to break superstitions.
"I am very happy. Due to his dress, few people find it fashionable to believe Yogi Adityanath is not 'modern enough' but it is Yogi Adityanath Ji who has done what chief ministers of Uttar pradesh did not do--he has come to Noida. Faith is important but blind faith is not desirable," he said.
A priest-turned-politician, Adityanath, was seen smiling as Modi lavished praise.
"Unfortunately, there were superstitions associated with Noida and in his own style, Yogi Adityanath has risen above these superstitions and come to Noida."
"If anybody thinks not going to a place will prolong their CM tenure and visiting a place will curtail it, such a person does not deserve to be a chief minister," he added.
The prime minister said that Noida was not the only place to which superstitions had gained ground.
Recalling his days as the chief minister of Gujarat, Modi said there were 6 to 7 places in the state where no chief minister went out of fear that whoever does so would lose his seat but he ignored this belief.
"When I became chief minister, people told me of a few places where no CMs went because they were inauspicious. I was clear… I would go to all those places in my first year itself. Driven by blind faith and superstition, leaders never went to places for decades. How unfortunate is that?" Modi said, highlighting that he remained Gujarat chief minister for nearly 20 years.
In the modern scientific world there is no place for superstition, he asserted.
Significantly, Adityanath's chief ministerial visits to Noida came eight years after the last by the then chief minister Mayawati. In the ensuing election Mayawati's BSP lost and her successor Akhilesh Yadav did not visit Noida.
"Our chief minister believes in working in the interest of people and does not care for superstitions, which have prevented past chief ministers from going to Noida. With his visit he will also end the superstition attached with the place," state BJP spokesman Chandramohan said in Lucknow last week.
Though Noida or Gautam Budh Nagar district was developed from a cluster of small villages into the prime economic zone of the state, it has been avoided by past chief ministers. something attributed to the "jinx" about the city.
Adityanath's predecessor and Akhilesh Yadav stayed away from Noida.
Akhilesh Yadav had launched the Rs 3,300 crore development projects, including access to six-lane Yamuna Expressway, through video link from Lucknow.
The family members of Dadri lynching victim Mohammad Ikhlaq were brought to Lucknow from there to meet Akhilesh Yadav.
The superstition attached with Noida began with then chief minister Veer Bahadur Singh, who was asked to step down in June 1988 by the central leadership.
Interestingly, he had just returned from Noida, when he was asked to relinquish office.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati ignored the superstition during her term as chief minister (2007-12) and attended programmes organised by the state government in Noida.
When the BSP lost power in the 2012 Assembly election, the Noida jinx was back in the news.