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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Paralakhemundi: Officials of Andhra Pradesh government, who had reportedly come to conduct Panchayat elections in the bordering Manikpatna village under Gangabada Gram Panchayat in Gajapati district, fled the spot on Friday without being able to answer questions posed by Odisha BJP leaders touring the villages of Odisha-AP border in Koraput and Gajapati.

The BJP team was accompanied by the Leader of Opposition Pradipta Naik, BJP State unit chief Sameer Mohanty and local MLA K Narayan Rao among others.

As per reports, when the BJP team arrived at Manikpatna village, some officials of Andhra Pradesh including an SP and Sub-Collector were already there discussing the modalities of conducting elections of AP Gram Panchayat with the locals.

However, the AP officials had to leave the place after a discussion with the BJP leaders who asked them to show the joint survey map, if any, to solidify AP's claim on that village.

Speaking to the media, Sameer Mohanty said, "We have been scouting in the bordering villages of Odisha for the last three days. Even though Andhra Pradesh has been sending its officials to mislead our people, Odisha government has turned a mute spectator to this."

"AP officials did not have documents to prove their claim on Manikpatna. So they left the place after speaking with us," Mohanty said.

"The locals of Manikpatna want to stay with Odisha. It is the continuous negligence by the State government that has led to such a situation. People do not have even the basic amenities here," alleged Mohanty.

It is pertinent to mention here that not only the three villages in Kotia (Koraput), Andhra Pradesh has been eyeing six other villages under Gangabada Panchayat in Gajapati district including Manikpatna.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has served a notice to the Andhra Pradesh government to file its response on a writ petition filed by the Odisha government seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against the neighbouring state for violation of status quo in the disputed Kotia region.

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)

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