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Poor Voting In Kotia Villages

Koraput: The panchayat polls  conducted by the Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission (SEC) at Kotia cluster of villages, over which both Odisha and the neighbouring state claim to be their own, witnessed low turnout on Thursday, officials said.

Of the total 1,291 voters notified under the Neradibalsa booth only 223 voters, including 99 women voters, cast their vote compared to 66 per cent polling recorded during the election to the post of sarpanch conducted by  the Andra Pradesh SEC on February 13, 2021, they said.

“The low turnout of voters is due to development activities executed in the panchayat by the Odisha government in last few years,” said Koraput District Collector, Abdaal M Akhtar.

Earlier, the Koraput administration had clamped prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC from Wednesday 5 pm at Neradibalsa and Phattusenari citing the emergence of COVID-19 positive cases.

 Also, political leaders including Jeypore’s Congress MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati, chairman of state seeds corporation and BJDs district president Iswar Panigrahi and former Koraput MP and BJP leader Jayaram Pangi campaigned at Kotia since Wednesday to ensure that the AP Government didn’t lure the native villagers for voting.         

Earlier, on February 13, the AP government had conducted elections for Sarpanch at the Kotia group of villages and the Odisha government had approached the Supreme Court through a writ petition. The next hearing of the case is on April 9, sources said.