Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Amid the ongoing tussle between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh over claiming rights on the Kotia region in Koraput, the neighbouring state has announced the results of elections in the area on September 19. 

Yuvajana Sramika Rythu (YSR) Congress Party's candidate Maji Appalamma secured victory in the rural elections in Ganjeipadar panchayat defeating the nearest contestant of the left party by 41 votes. 

Meanwhile, Andhra had also conducted elections in Phaguna Sineri and Phaatu Sineri and YSR congress candidates also pulled off success in these places too. 

The dispute over Kotia is a long-pending border issue between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Both the States have been claiming their sovereign rights over the area, which consists of 27 small tribal hamlets at the border.

On April 8, the Andhra government had conducted the elections after changing the names of Ganjeipadar, Phaguna Sineri and Phaatu Sineri of which the results were declared today.

Earlier on Saturday, Odisha Assembly Speaker Surjya Patro played down the border dispute issue pertaining to the Kotia. "Developmental works in the region are being carried out by Odisha government and the district authorities are supervising them from time to time. There is nothing to worry about," said the Speaker.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had earlier knocked on the doors of AP High Court appealing to nullify the elections held in Kotia as well as across the state.  However, after the verdict of the state's top court, the election results were announced today. 

Meanwhile, 'Ama Kotia' organisation, a local rights activist outfit said that the neighbouring state will capture Kotia very soon. Residents of Kotia have voted YSR Congress after experiencing the development in Andhra.  

"Collector of Vijayanagar visited Ganjeipadar in midnight and chalked out their development strategy to woo the voters. Isn't the Odisha government getting information about all these happenings? Can't our police officials assure the voters in Kotia that they are available for them in ups and downs? Victory of YSR Congress in Kotia is a failure of Odisha government and this will further weaken the government, said Gadadhar Parida," Convenor of Ama Kotia.

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