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Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: Even as the Odisha government gears up to move the Supreme Court against Andhra Pradesh’s announcement for holding panchayat polls in disputed Kotia region of Koraput, an MLA from the ruling YSR Congress in the neighbouring State has added a new twist to the ongoing row.

Rajanna Dora, the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) legislator from Salur said that polls in Kotia villages is not new as his State has been holding elections there since the creation of separate state (Andhra Pradesh).

“The State of Andhra Pradesh was separated from the Madras province in 1953. Since then, Andhra Pradesh has been conducting panchayat elections there (Kotia). This is not a first. There is a dispute between the two states over the border. But, there is no dispute over holding panchayat elections there,” said Dora, who represents Salur constituency in Andhra which shares border with Odisha.

Speaking exclusively to OTV, Dora said the border dispute is sub-judice in the Supreme Court which had directed to maintain status quo. But, Andhra Pradesh Pradesh has been holding panchayat elections at Kotia region even before the matter went to the Apex court, he added.

The legislator alleged that Odisha was trying to encroach upon the rights of Andhra Pradesh. Odisha officials are very aggressive in border affairs but their counterparts in Andhra Pradesh are very polite and cooperative, he claimed.

For a permanent solution to the long pending dispute, chief ministers of both the States should sit together with the Governor of Andhra Pradesh and discuss, Dora suggested.

"I would like to request the Andhra Pradesh Governor who also belongs to Odisha, to get chief ministers of both states together and settle the issue,” Dora pointed out.

Notably, the Odisha government has engaged Advocate On Record Sibo Sankar Mishra to file a writ petition in the Supreme Court, challenging Andhra’s announcement to hold panchayat elections in Kotia.

The Odisha government has pointed out that Andra Pradesh took the unilateral decision on holding panchayat polls even as the border dispute involving Kotia is sub-judice in the Supreme Court.

It is worth mentioning that Kotia dispute is a long pending border issue between Andhra Pradhesh and Odisha. Both the States have been claiming sovereign rights over the area, which consist of 27 small tribal hamlets on the border.

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