Bhubaneswar, Jan 20 (PTI) In a bid to thwart the “attempts of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to meddle” in the upcoming panchayat polls in the contentious Kotia area, three major political parties of Odisha, including the BJD and the BJP, Thursday decided to select consensus candidates in that border region.
The Congress is the third party besides the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the BJP which made the decision at a meeting, Jeypore Congress MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati said.
The parties decided to select consensus candidates for sarpanch, samity member, and ward member posts instead of going for elections in Kotia gram panchayat in Koraput district where Andhra Pradesh held panchayat elections last year.
The Andhra Pradesh government had held rural elections in villages in the Kotia gram panchayat area in February last year despite the Odisha administration’s objection citing a Supreme Court directive to maintain status quo in the disputed area.
“The decision has been taken to thwart the designs of Andhra Pradesh to meddle in the panchayat elections in Kotia area,” the Congress MLA said.
The meeting was attended by Koraput district president of BJD Ishwar Panigrahi, BJP leader Jairam Pangi and Minakshi Bahinipati of Congress.
It was also decided that whoever is selected for any post, will have to resign from the respective party.
The meeting also resolved that selection of consensus candidates will be an effective way to counter the attempts of Andhra Pradesh to interfere in the affairs of Kotia panchayat.
There are more than 5,000 eligible voters in 13 wards of 28 revenue villages and 12 other villages in Kotia panchayat which will go to the polls on February 18.
The dispute over the ownership of 21 of the 28 villages under Kotia gram panchayat had first reached the Supreme Court in 1968. In 2006, the apex court held that inter-state boundaries did not fall within its jurisdiction and only the Parliament could resolve them, as it imposed a permanent injunction on the disputed area.
In August last year, the Odisha government deployed police and erected barricades in Kotia after the Andhra Pradesh administration attempted to launch several schemes in the area. The southern state had announced the results of the panchayat polls it held in Kotia.
There have been several flare-ups last year over the ownership of 21 of the 28 villages under Kotia gram panchayat, which is claimed by both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. PTI AAM MM MM
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Source: The Print