'The supernatural always trumps the natural,' notes Amulya Ganguli.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
It appears that Pragya Singh Thakur has unnerved the BJP.
Otherwise, why should she have been closeted with her partymen for as long as four hours for a tutorial?
The lessons that were taught to her apparently related to the need basically to keep her mouth shut on everything other than her ordeal in jail.
As a former member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the RSS/BJP's student wing, she must be aware of the virtues of the right curriculum and, therefore, must have been a patient listener.
Heading the list of the dos and don'ts in the saffron syllabus was probably a caution against boasting about the supernatural power of her curse, which, she has claimed, brought about the death of her tormentor in jail, Hemant Karkare, the Mumbai police officer, who was killed while battling the 26/11 terrorists.
The reason for the caution probably was that the entry of the occult in politics can have unforeseen consequences.
For one thing, it can depict the politician and the party as subscribers to black magic which, for all its mysterious appeal, especially to the unwashed masses, doesn't quite fit in with the modern world and can make a laughing stock of the BJP in the English-speaking cocktail circuit.
For another, it can attract the unfavourable attention of the Election Commission which, careful as it has been in implementing the Model Code of Conduct, may find the notion of the evil eye rather difficult to swallow.
For a third, the BJP seems to have woken up to the possibility of its electoral prospects in Maharashtra being hurt by Thakur's imprecations against Karkare, who is highly regarded in the state.
But these may not be the only reasons why the BJP appears to have been shaken more than by any other person by Thakur.
When it fielded her, the party must have regarded the move as a master stroke in the category of what it did when it chose Ajay Singh Bisht as the UP chief minister.
Not only are such choices a brazen cocking of the snook at the secular, multicultural concept, they also emphasise the RSS/BJP's continued adherence to the Hindu rashtra idea.
The RSS/BJP may have turned to Thakur in view of their belief that Bisht's selection has paid off handsomely.
He is today the third most important speaker in the BJP's campaigns after Narendra Damodardas Modi and Amit Anilchandra Shah and draws impressive crowds with his incendiary rhetoric which not-so-subtly undercuts the sabka saath, sabka vikas slogan.
Given Bisht's popularity among the saffron cadres and pro-BJP crowds, the RSS/BJP understandably opted for Thakur.
The Hindutva camp must be expected her to add further zest to Bisht's anti-Muslim campaign.
But, there's sometimes a slip between the cup and the lip, for Thakur has started off on the wrong foot.
From now on, her anti-Muslim diatribes and even her proud role in demolishing the Babri Masjid will not have the same appeal as the power of her curse.
The supernatural always trumps the natural.
Amulya Ganguli is a writer on current affairs.