Pradeep Singh

In the backdrop of border disputes between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, political parties in the State have decided to select consensus candidates for Sarpanch, Samiti member and Ward member posts for the upcoming Panchayat polls in the contentious Kotia area of Koraput district.

The decision to unanimously select candidates for the posts was taken in an all-party meeting attended by BJP leader Jairam Pangi, BJD's Ishwar Panigrahi and Congress leader Minakshi Bahinipati.

In the meeting, leaders of all the three major political parties believed that consensus candidates for Kotia is the only way to checkmate the attempts made by the neighbouring state to create disturbances in the region.

Pangi said that all the three major political parties in the State have decided to extend their support to a single candidate/s. "It will prove that for us, our motherland comes first and then comes party affiliations,” he added.

Hinting at the same, Congress MLA Tara Bahinipati had earlier stated that no leader or MLA of any political party will be allowed to visit Kotia on the polling day and the unanimously selected candidates will contest under no party symbol.

Meanwhile, Koraput Collector Md Abdaal Akhtar said that elections will be held as usual in all the 13 wards of Kotia and stern action will be taken against those who try to disrupt the poll process.

Voting for the Panchayat polls in Kotia is scheduled to be held on February 18. While the nomination submission deadline is tomorrow (January 21), as many as 13 candidates (05 for Ward member, 01 for Samiti member and 07 for Sarpanch) have so far (at the time of publishing this news piece) filed nominations for different posts.