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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Jagatsinghpur: Telugu fishermen from different slum areas in Paradeep have kicked up a dual voter identification storm by flocking to their native villages in Andhra Pradesh to exercise their franchise in the on-going panchayat elections.

According to reports, the Jagatsinghpur district administration has launched an investigation to identify persons having dual voter identity cards of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh in the slum areas of Sandhakuda, Nuabazar and Nehru Bangla which is home to nearly 5000 fishermen from different districts in the neighbouring southern state.

The move was taken by the district administration after hundreds of fishermen rushed to Andhra Pradesh to cast their votes in the rural polls being held in four phases. Besides, various political parties from Andhra Pradesh have even sent buses to ferry these fishermen to their native places to vote in favour of their respective candidates. Party leaders were even seen campaigning in those areas.

“Many Telugu fishermen have voter ID and ration cards of both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. They are enjoying benefits from both the states while genuine beneficiaries are being ignored by the administration,” alleged Anupam Pradhan, a resident of Paradeep.

According to official sources, the Collector of Jagatsinghpur has directed the Executive Officer of Paradip Municipality, Sourindra Kumar Routray to conduct an inquiry and identify people who have enrolled as voters in two different states by submitting bogus documents.

“The authorities have engaged a team to investigate dual voter ID registration in different constituencies of the two states. After inquiry, steps will be taken to remove the name/s of person/s having dual voter identity cards,” assured Routray.

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