Vizianagaram: Tension gripped Andhra-Odisha border after Kotia Panchayat voters were prevented from exercising their franchise in the MPTC and ZPTC elections on Thursday.

Polling booths Kotia Panchayat were shut down by the Odisha administration and political leaders.

Nestled between Vizianagaram of Andhra Pradesh and Koraput of Odisha, Kotia Panchayat is home to 1200 voters. However, only 290 people could cast their vote.

It may be noted that the dispute over the jurisdiction of 21 of total 22 hilly villages along the border of Vizianagaram and Koraput district of Odisha could not be resolved as the Supreme Court had asked to maintain status quo in March 2006.

The tension between the two states flared up after the local polls. Kotia panchayat comes under the Salur Mandal in the Vizianagaram district.

Some voters in the Neradivalasa village were seen jostling after Odisha police tried to stop them from exercising their franchise. Some people managed to cross the barricade and cast their vote in another polling booth.

Andhra Pradesh police and public representatives from Koraput district were involved in heated arguments after voting was interrupted. The AP cops argued that the people should not be deprived of exercising their democratic rights.

Hundreds of people from Odisha spent the previous night in the disputed villages trying to dissuade voters.

However, the voters said they are being deprived of their basic rights because of the dispute.

"We vote in both states. When we vote in Odisha, the Andhra government never stops us. Why are you stopping us?" a woman asked an Odisha leader.



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