Andhra Pradesh holds Panchayat polls in disputed Kotia


Despite opposition from the Odisha government, the Andhra Pradesh government on Saturday held panchayat elections in disputed Kotia gram panchayat.

Elections were held in Kotia area despite Koraput district Collector warning his Vizianagaram counterpart not to go ahead as the matter is currently sub-judice in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a plea on Andhra Pradesh invading Odisha’s territory on February 19.

Villagers of Patusineri under Kotia gram panchayatAin Pottangi block were seen queuing up at polling booths in the morning to cast their votes even after efforts by Potangi BDO and Tehsildar to convince the villagers not to particpate in the electoral process.

Police and poll officials from Andhra Pradesh were deployed in Kotia gram panchayat.

Pottangi block Chairman Jagatjyoti Pangi said Andhra Pradesh is holding rural polls on Saturday despite the opposition from the Odisha government.

On Friday, Koraput district Collector Abdaal Akhtar had written to his Vizianagaram counterpart M. Hari Jawaharlal appealing not to conduct the elections in the disputed region of Kotia.

“I am to bring to your attention that in Contempt Petition No. 172/2021 arising out of Original Suit No. 10/1968 (The State of Odisha Vs. M.Hari Jawaharlal and Others), the Honorable Supreme Court of India has been pleased to issue notice to the State of Andhra Pradesh and post the case to Friday, the 19th February, 2021. In its oral observations, the Court has also observed that should the State of Andhra Pradesh go ahead with its plans as regards the subject mentioned above, necessary consequences will follow,” said the Koraput colector.

“The same was pronounced in the presence of counsel for the State of Andhra Pradesh. A copy of the associated case documents have been handed over to the counsel for the State of Andhra Pradesh,” the Collector wrote in the letter.

“Considering that the sub-judice nature of the matter and Supreme Court’s oral observations, you may kindly desist from going ahead with any plan to allegedly conduct elections inside Kotia gram panchayat of Pottangi block of Koraput district,” Akhtar said.

On Friday, the apex court issued a notice to the Andhra Pradesh government to file its response on a contempt petition filed by Odisha, which has sought action against the neighbouring state over its violation of the Supreme Court order in 1968 and 2006.

Andhra Pradesh is holding panchayat elections in three villages Talaganjeipadar, Patusineri and Phagunseneri in Kotia gram panchayat. It has changed their names to Ganjeibadara, Pattuchennuru and Pagluchennuru. The Kotia area has 21 villages.