Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government which has been facing the heat of the Opposition over Kotia border dispute has once again found itself in the eye of storm after the Andhra Pradesh government managed to successfully conduct the Mandal Parishad and Zilla Parishad polls in the region today despite protests from its Odisha counterpart.

Though the Odisha Government filed a fresh petition in the Supreme Court opposing the polls in the disputed Kotia region, it could not stop the Andhra government from holding the election.

Condemning the failure of the Odisha government to stop the election, PCC president Niranjan Patnaik said, “It clearly indicates that the BJD government even does not have the willingness to safeguard the territory of our State. It is a betrayal towards Odisha State and is really unfortunate.”

BJP leader Balabhadra Majhi said, “Though the Supreme Court asked the Odisha government to raise the issue in a proper forum i.e Parliament, it is frequently moving to the apex court over the issue. It implies that it is deliberately allowing Andhra to conduct election in Kotia and wants that Kotia finally goes to the administrative control of the neighbouring state. There is nothing more regrettable than this.”

Responding to the allegations, BJD leader Iswar Panigrahi said, “Centre should intervene to resolve the inter-state dispute. We will raise the issue of Andhra’s highhandedness and violation of federal structure. I am hopeful that the issue will be resolved in the future.”

Sources said leaders from BJD, BJP, and Congress had camped in Kotia to prevent people from taking part in the election. Besides, the district administration had imposed prohibitory order under Section 144 in the area in view of Covid-19. Despite that some voters from the region reportedly cast their franchise at Narediwalasa booth. However, no voters from the region turned up at Thonam booth.

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