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Andhra Holds Panchayat Elections In Disputed Kotia Region Despite Odisha’s Request Not To Conduct Polls

Koraput: Despite a letter from Koraput district Collector to his Vizianagaram (Andhra Pradesh) counterpart on not to conduct the Gram Panchayat election in Kotia, the neighbouring state went ahead with its plan.

According to reports, elections are currently underway today in the disputed area of Kotia. Andhra Pradesh is conducting the panchayat election in five villages of Koraput and those include Madkar, Daliamba, Barnapadu, Patusineri and Konadara.

The Andhra Pradesh government has not only made efforts to cement its control over Kotia Gram Panchayat in Koraput district but also some other bordering villages in Malkangiri, Ganjam and Gajapati districts.

The neighbouring state is allegedly conducting elections at Jumadanga Gram Panchayat (GP) under Dhuliputa block in Malkangiri district, Kuladi GP under Patrapur block in Ganjam district and Gangabada GP under Raigada block in Gajapati district today.

Earlier on Friday, Koraput district Collector Abdaal Akhtar had written a letter to his Vizianagaram (Andhra Pradesh) Collector M Hari Jawaharlal requesting the latter not to conduct the Gram Panchayat elections in Kotia as the matter is currently sub-judice in the Supreme Court.

Akhtar had requested Jawaharlal to desist from going ahead with any plan to allegedly conduct the election.

“I am to bring to your attention that in Contempt Petition No. 172/2021 arising out of Original Suit No. 10/1968, the Honourable Supreme Court of India has been pleased to issue notice to the State of Andhra Pradesh and post the case to Friday, 19th February, 2021. In its oral observations, the Court has also observed that should the State of Andhra Pradesh go ahead with its plan as regards the subject mentioned above, necessary consequences will follow,” Akhtar wrote in the letter.

“I am to therefore request you that considering the sub-judice nature of the matter and the Honourable Supreme Court of India’s oral observations, you may kindly resist from going ahead with any plan to allegedly conduct elections inside Kotia Gram Panchayat of Pottangi block in the district of Koraput, Odisha,” the official further wrote in the letter.

Earlier the Odisha Government had moved the Supreme Court seeking contempt of court proceedings against Andhra Pradesh, mentioning in its petition that the apex court had earlier ordered to maintain status quo in the disputed area of Kotia.

According to sources, the people of these areas have dual voter ID and ration cards of both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

(Edited by Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)

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