Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao is a highly superstitious man. He changes houses worth crores just because a certain room is not facing the right direction. He also avoids meeting the country’s Prime Minister because of some other weird voodoo. Thus, when PM Narendra Modi got the opportunity, he did not hold back his punches and called out KCR for his superstitious nature, whilst praising Uttar Pradesh’s monk chief minister Yogi Adityanath for fighting any kind of superstition.
Reportedly, PM Modi arrived in Hyderabad on Thursday to celebrate 20 years of Indian School of Business (ISB) in the city. While PM was in the capital city, CM KCR thought it a prudent decision to fly out to Bengaluru to meet former prime minister Deve Gowda and his son and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy at their residence. Rumours were doing the rounds that KCR, owing to his superstitious beliefs did not receive PM Modi or meet him afterwards.
PM Modi was not the one to let go and sarcastically taunted the TRS leader, “I congratulate the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath Ji, from this land of Telangana. Someone had told him that he should not go to a place, but Yogi Ji said that he believed in science and he left. Today he has become the Chief Minister again. We have to protect Telangana from people who encourage superstition”
The Noida jinx
PM Modi was referring to the Noida jinx where previous UP CMs avoided visiting the constituency as it ended up with them losing their power. The superstition dated 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 a 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 in 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. Meanwhile, Akhilesh, 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.
However, Yogi Adityanath never fell for this laughable myth. Ever since he came to power in UP in 2017, he has visited the city not once, but multiple times. From launching the Noida Metro and several other projects, not only did he boldly visit Noida, needles of the fear of losing elections, but also he ensured that the city looks much better than it is at present. On December 25 2018, Yogi Adityanath along with PM Narendra Modi visited Noida to inaugurate Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line; thus, breaking the jinx.
KCR’s obsession with superstition
As for KCR, it is said that the Telangana CM is almost obsessed with following his superstitious beliefs. Back on June 2, 2014, when KCR was to become the first Chief Minister of Telangana, he timed his oath down to minutes – 12:57 pm. The reason? All the numbers add up to 15, whose individual numerals add up to 6. Even during campaigning, he was driven in cars with number plates whose numerals added up to six.
A year before he moved into a new home, KCR held a ‘Yagyam’ at his farmhouse on the concluding day of the Ayutha Maha Chandi Yagyam. Reports stated that about 150 cooks prepared meals for more than 50,000 people over the five days of the ceremony. The five-day ceremony reportedly cost nearly ₹ 7 crore. However, he claimed that he paid for the expenses and roped in some private sponsors.
Why is BJP praising Yogi in Telangana?
Being a religious leader Yogi has a personal connection with some of the top leaders of the Lingayat community. The Nath sect which Yogi represents is also seen as a reform movement within Hinduism. It is part of Shaivism which works against caste oppression. BJP hopes that with this background Yogi will have a far larger appeal than others in the state.
The state of Telangana has a Lingayat population of around 15 lakhs. Thus, if BJP is to make a dent in TRS and KCR’s electoral fortunes – the LIngayat community has to be swayed in favour of the saffron party. Perhaps, this is the reason why PM Modi openly waxed lyrical about Yogi Adityanath whilst targeting the state CM. The assembly elections are scheduled to be held later next year and PM Modi has started to prepare the pitch already.