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Dynamite News
Dynamite News
DN Bureau

Voting dilemma: Kotia caught between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh boundaries, set to vote on May 13

Kotia cluster comprises 21 disputed villages

Koraput (Odisha): On May 13, 2024, both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are scheduled to hold Lok Sabha elections.

However, in the Kotia disputed border areas, residents face a dilemma regarding which state to vote in.

The Kotia cluster comprises 21 disputed villages nestled amidst remote hills on the border between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

Located approximately 50 km from Koraput and 150 km from Vishakhapatnam, these villages are geographically isolated yet central to the ongoing territorial dispute between the two states.

The Andhra Pradesh government's actions have added to the confusion, as they have attempted to sway Kotia voters with various incentives, potentially influencing their voting decisions.

This situation has created uncertainty and complexity for residents in deciding their electoral allegiance.

Due to the territorial dispute, there might be complexities in voting, with people potentially having ties to both states.

Sunil Kumar Biswal, Secretary of Koraput Vikas Parisad, highlighted that 21 surrounding villages of Kotia have historically been recognized as part of Odisha since records dating back to 1936, coinciding with the formation of the first language-based states.

Initially, under the control of the Jeypore zamindary, Kotia was integrated into Odisha when the state was established.

However, a dispute arose in 1971 when Andhra Pradesh laid claim to Kotia, leading to ongoing tensions.

Despite being under Odisha's jurisdiction, Andhra Pradesh has endeavoured to provide similar facilities to Kotia and its neighbouring villages, even holding elections for various levels of governance.

Saikn Ibrahim, Cashier, Koraput Vikas Parishad, on the environment amidst the elections said, "The situation is very confusing. But we have to see how the government of Odisha and the authorities of Koraput will handle the situation."

Kotia cluster is located between the Araku Lok Sabha Constituency and Salur Assembly Constituency on the Andhra Pradesh side and Koraput Lok Sabha Constituency and Koraput Assembly Constituency on the Odisha side.

The Andhra government in haste has confused the residents of the Odisha-Andhra border by showing various temptations to capture the Kotiya voters.

Villagers are getting welfare benefits like ration, old age pension, as well as various schemes from both the states. 

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