Franklin D. Roosevelt, the ex US president famously stated that “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” Alas the absence of this specific trait in society can lead to multiple malaise and chief among them is the inability to stand against popular belief. Examples of courage is even more rare in the current political landscape as only few politicians stand as shining example of the same. One of the most notable example of this attribute is the honourable prime minister himself. His refusal to wear skull caps in past or his move of demonetization, the man has never shied away to stand for his convictions as opposed to popular beliefs. Mind you that he has been paying a high price for his convictions, being targeted by filthiest of insults and abuses and at the receiving end of the most negative campaigns, targeting him personally more often than not.
But the current Chief Minister of UP, Yogi Adityanath demonstrated last week that he is not just a courageous man but also someone who is willing to redefine status quo. Yogi Adityanath from beginning is considered an unlikely Chief Minister material with no trappings of a seasoned politician and hence did not meet the pre-requisites of majority of media and intellectuals. His choice as CM of UP is again a testimony of Mr. Modi’s and Mr. Shah’s individual convictions on his abilities. Since he has taken up the role of chief minister, his governance style has been unconventional to say the least. From targeting illegal abattoirs to ensuring heightened security for girls in UP, Yogi Adityanath has demonstrated that he shall be operating with his own set of priorities. It is in line with this that his coming to Noida stamps his uncanny ability of venturing into unknown.
So, what is the big deal about inaugurating a Metro line in Noida? Following are the details
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. The widely held belief around Noida is that whoever visits Noida, loses power.The superstition dates back to the late ’80s.
It all started in June 1988 when then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Vir Bahadur Singh was asked to step down from the CM’s chair just after he visited Noida. His successor N D Tiwari met with similar fate and lost power after visiting Noida. In 2002, for a brief time when Rajnath Singh was Chief Minister, he inaugurated a flyover linking Noida and Delhi – but bowed down to this superstition and ensured that he stayed on Delhi’s side of the border.
This superstition played a role why Mulayam Singh, then Chief Minister, refused to visit the area in 2006 when it was reeling from the discovery of the bones and skulls of little children discovered in a drain in Nithari. In recent times, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati junked the Noida superstition and flew to Noida to inaugurate the Dalit Smarak Sthal in October 2011.
Barely a few months after her Noida visit, Mayawati was voted out of power and the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav formed the government in Uttar Pradesh.
Akhilesh, widely projected as a tech-savvy youth and Next Gen leader, stayed away from Noida all through his five-year stint skipped the Asian Development Bank Summit organised in Noida in May 2013 where then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the chief guest. He again gave Noida a miss by choosing to inaugurate the 165-km Yamuna Expressway from Lucknow. He somehow failed to account that besides avoiding jinx, a CM’s post also has some other role and responsibilities which if not done can lead to losing power. I am sure after losing elections by a huge mandate this March, he might have learned few lessons.
In light of such a history and widely held perceptions, Yogi Adityanath’s two visits to Noida in last 1 week holds significance. He demonstrates that he realized that as a chief minister his first job is not to ensure safety of his seat but instead to reach out to potential growth opportunities that can lead to development of his state. He has also managed to show that he is not going to carry the baggage’s of past in future.
One may say that reading so much into a visit is not correct. To them I would like to pose the question that Mr. Modi asked yesterday during the Flagging off the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro
“If anybody thinks that not going to a place will prolong their CM tenure and visiting a place will curtail it, does such a person deserve to be a chief minister?”
I think the answer is vehemently clear and hence Yogi Adityanath deserves all the applause and plaudits coming his way.
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