The chief of the state police appraised the consignment of the guns that was delivered to him by the courier. He selected one from the batch; the gun was smaller than the police rifle and slightly bigger than the service revolver. The reports received about Irish revolutionaries had made a reference to the gun being supplied through KGB the Russian agency. The forces manning the borders of the country here or there had caught a piece but it was the first time he will actually check the efficacy of the gun himself. He pulled the empty trigger and fired, “splendid, this is what I have been looking for”. The Chief Minister has specially asked him to look for such armaments. During his visit abroad he had been briefed and shown the firepower of these guns. He wanted to carry one himself but the government at the centre belonged to a different party and the customs at the airport will have created a scandal. Although he enjoyed diplomatic immunity, yet the national Home minister Aaham had always been on the lookout to show him down. At the last meeting of the state Chief Ministers he had sarcastically commented, “Although the law and order is the subject of your state, but how orderly and legal it remains will be decided by the powers that are controlled by the centre. The poor peasants of the state have been duped and mislead by you into believing that a small local party of your size can deliver better. Do not forget we control the strings to all purses”. The head of the state police had worked under three chief ministers but the current incumbent was different. He had the determination of the masses with him. He belonged to the same creed as the cop himself and their villages were situated quite close to each other. He remembered the day election results were declared. He had been traveling in the districts where the fiercest fight took place between the incumbent vs. the expectant. The incumbent had always been using the fair or foul means to get the power back. This time the upsurge had been noticed even in the official machinery. The police, the executive all were in favor of the expectant, which made the job of the chief of the state police much easier. He was summoned by the incumbent chief minister to his office and was told in plain words “the election is always a test of the bureaucracy’s loyalty to the government in power. The time has come for you to take this test and prove your allegiance. The party high command has conveyed that the position of governorship will fall vacant in seven states exactly three years from now; the time when you will lay down the office of the state police chief. The solitary period after retirement can be very humiliating once you have led such an active life. I shall recommend your name for the position of the governorship for one of the states and ensure you take oath as one that will herald you grand entry into Indian politics. I am aware that you have always nursed such an aspiration’. The chief of the state police who had already been sounded of an election ticket by the other party was least impressed by this offer, yet the audacity of the chief minister to directly ask for support at the election was praiseworthy. “We have assessed the weak points at some of the constituencies and we want you to deploy men and officers who are pro our party. The list contains the names of the district chiefs, the police station in charges, and some of the lower ranking officials, who must be moved immediately to their respective positions. once The election manifesto becomes operative will prevent the issuance of any such orders hence you have to ensure summary transfers within next twenty four hours before the election commission’s orders are received by you”. The chief of the state police unresponsively looked at the list; his first glance told him that the list contained the names of the officials under whose control the voters will certainly not be allowed to exercise their freedom to select their representatives. These officials will rather make sure the liberty and the right to franchise remains miles away from the voters. He put the list aside “I need time to discuss this with my departmental officers and other section heads before the orders can be issued. The summary transfers can create administrative problems. Please allow me some time”. “Where is the time? Besides you are overlooking the other hassles in case you delay this. In such a situation we will be issuing only one transfer order, the rest can be taken care of” the chief minister had issued a direct threat. The Chief of the state police picked up the list neatly folded it into four and placed it back on the table of the chief minister “I will wait for the single order” he walked out. He could hear the man swearing names behind his back. He did not care, the pre poll indications were quite pinpointing of the outcome; this man will not find a place to hide himself if free and fair polling was allowed. The common public was fed up with the antics of the current ministry and its leader. They were waiting for the election to throw out the entire lot of the existing cabinet of ministers by the use of the ballot. The administrative machinery was equally determined to conduct a free and fair polling. Hence the chief of the state police knew the politician could issue no such transfer order at this stage. He could still feel the limp in the handshake offered to him by the outgoing chief minister after the election results were declared. He had gone to escort him from the rest house he was staying in. The crowds were surging on the roads preparing for the victory procession of the winner candidate. Anticipating trouble and rough handling at the hands of the masses this man called him on the wireless “ Could you please do me one last favor before I lay down the office! Please escort me back to my residence. I am afraid the crowds will lynch me if I travel into my motorcade”. “But you have your own elite guards and commandos protecting you. How can any body even break that cordon of your ferocious protectors?” the chief of the state police chuckled. He could see massive barricades put up on both sides of the road leading to the residence of the winning party’s hero Pratap. These barricades had been decorated with the peasant party’s banners and flags displayed all over. The public address system was blaring loudly “Long live the peasant parties! Long live our leaders! Long live Pratap, the new chief minister!” The people were forming the victory queue to welcome the new elect to the venue. They were jubilant, they were happy; they were enjoying their newfound freedom from the erstwhile party. This was a second opening for them; the oppressive attitude of the government machinery earlier was too much to bear. The autocratic rule was coming to an end. “They will obviously not spare the man if they are able to lay their hands on him” thought the police chief. “I shall be traveling back with you in your car and not the official motorcade which has already left, even the party workers have deserted me. Could you please come over”? “Safety of common man has always been our prime responsibility. I shall be there in no time”. The chief of the state police entered the guesthouse from the rear gate. He asked the man to sit in the car driven by him. Two young girls of hardly seventeen to eighteen years of age also came out of the guesthouse. The chief cop did not show any kind of shock. He ordered them to leave the place on their own and mingle into the crowds. “The bastard’ said the chief cop and spat “Even at this juncture this man has been indulging into his pastime”.

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