Suryakant Jena

A legislator from Andhra Pradesh has added fuel to the fire in the contentious border dispute between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh by making unilateral claims that the residents of villages in Kotia Gram Panchayat of Koraput want to be part of Andhra Pradesh. 

Saluru (AP) MLA, Rajanna Dora in his Facebook post has claimed that Kotia residents have expressed their willingness to join Andhra's dominion through a letter. "The people of Kotia have submitted request letters to Vijayanagaram district collector, Parvatipuram ITDA saying that we all will be in Andhra," Dora wrote in his social media handle. 

He further noted that even though the border row between Odisha and his state has been a long-term issue, former Andhra Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu was unable to resolve it. He however praised the incumbent CM Jagan Mohan Reddy for taking preemptive measures to iron out the differences. 

The neighbouring state MLA also admired Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for holding a meeting with Jagan in this regard on November 9. 

Meanwhile, following the development, Jeypore MLA and senior Congress leader from Odisha, Tara Bahinipati has lashed out at Dora for making such claims at a time when a unanimous decision has been taken to constitute a high-level team to find a solution over claims of ownership in the bordering villages. 

Launching a sharp attack on the Andhra MLA, Tara urged the latter to stop misleading the people of Kotia and Odisha. "Odisha is a state of peace and brotherhood. So the Saluru MLA should not try to split the Odia and Telugu communities in our state through 'divide and rule' policy," Tara said.   

The Odisha lawmaker also called upon AP Chief Minister Jagan to take disciplinary action against Saluru legislator Rajanna Dora over his comments.