The Telegraph
Thursday , February 28 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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The lull ahead of result storm

BSF personnel and a dog keep vigil along the India-Bangladesh border at Kamla Sagar, 35km from Agartala. (PTI)

Agartala, Feb. 27: The state is in the grip of an uneasy calm a day ahead of counting as most troublemakers have made good their escape since February 14 — polling day — fearing political retribution.

Of them, the supporters of the winning party will, in all probability, return home a day after declaration of results to celebrate, and, of course, “punish” those who dared to side with their opponents.

The “unfortunate” ones, on the other hand, will take their time in Guwahati or Calcutta and wait for things to calm down before making a homeward move.

High-stakes betting on the possible outcome of the polls has, however, already commenced.

A large group of border traders yesterday called on Congress MLA Surajit Dutta at his residence and asked for protection in the event of power being captured by the Congress after tomorrow’s counting of ballots.

Dutta said he assured the traders that there would be no violence or attacks. “All of them are CPM supporters and scared of being attacked but nothing like this will happen. All my workers are under strict instruction not to indulge in any violent activity.”

PCC president Sudip Roy Barman had, all along the campaign, assured people that in the event of Congress coming to power there would be no retaliation against CPM cadres and workers. “You will never find CPM leaders giving such assurances because they thrive on violence and always indulge in it after winning the polls. But we are very strict in this and will deal strongly with anyone trying to indulge in violence,” he said.

Tripura has a long history of political violence, especially after Assembly elections.

All the Assembly polls in the state since 1983 have been followed by violence attacks on Congress workers and supporters and incidents such as arson have happened in a wanton manner.

The same thing had happened after the 1988 Assembly polls when the Congress-TUJS had come to power after unseating the CPM-led Left Front.

In the worst political violence in October 1988, 14 CPM leaders and their personal security officers were massacred by a mob dominated by Congressmen in South Tripura.

“A large number of people belonging to rival parties run away from the state between election day and counting. Though supporters of the winning party return a day after counting, those of defeated parties take time to arrange security,” said retired superintendent of police Jaydeb Das.

He said this exodus before counting had now become a routine affair and checking with airlines authorities would confirm the flight of political activists, especially mafia elements.

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