Pradhan cautions State Govt over AP holding rural polls in Odisha territory

Pradhan cautions State Govt over AP holding rural polls in Odisha territory

Bhubaneswar: A day after neighbouring Andhra Pradesh conducted rural polls in some villages under Odisha territory, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday urged Odisha Government to take timely steps to protect the geographical boundary of the State. He hoped the legal course of action for Kotia Panchayat would be taken to its logical conclusion by the State administration.
The statement of Pradhan came after Andhra Pradesh held Panchayat polls in the disputed region of Kotia in Koraput district and other bordering villages of the State.
Pradhan tweeted:

(“Andhra Pradesh’s effort to involve Odisha people in its Panchayat polls by invading into the geographical border in Koraput, Ganjam and Gajapati is a matter of great concern. The border dispute with Andhra and other neighbouring states has developed a bitter relationship. The situation may get worse if the Chief Minister doesn’t take timely step.”)
Pradhan called upon leaders of all political parties in Odisha, social organisations and activists to work collectively for safeguarding the border. He also said that the local administration should work to implement the Government welfare schemes in the border region to ensure development in these areas.
Notably, the State Government has moved the Supreme Court, which issued a notice to Andhra Pradesh Government to file its response on a contempt petition filed by Odisha.
Odisha has sought action against the neighbouring State over its violation of the apex court order in 1968 and 2006. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the matter on February 19.
Andhra Pradesh held Panchayat elections in three villages Talaganjeipadar, Patusineri and Phagunseneri in Kotia Gram Panchayat under Pottangi block. It has changed their names to Ganjeibadara, Pattuchennuru and Pagluchennuru.
Ignoring opposition from Odisha Government, Andhra Pradesh on Saturday conducted gram panchayat polls in Kotia area of Koraput district, the region on which both the States have been staking their claim.
Even though Koraput District Magistrate Abdaal Akhtar had written a letter to his Vizianagaram counterpart requesting him not to hold elections in the disputed Kotia region as the matter is sub judice in the Supreme Court, the Andhra Pradesh Government set up polling booth at Potu Senari and voting was held under a thick security cover.
The issue has sparked a political row in Odisha with Opposition BJP and Congress accusing BJD Government of failing to protect the State’s territory. The Congress had on Saturday criticised the BJD Government, saying the Chief Minister’s incompetence led to Andhra Pradesh holding polls in the Odisha territory.
State BJP president Samir Mohanty also came down heavily on the BJD Government, accusing it of not being able to protect the State’s territory. He said BJP will soon set up a border security cell to look after the grievances of the people living on the bordering areas.

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