Odisha rural polls: Record polling in Kotia as voters snub Andhra’s disruptive plans

Over 76 per cent voter turnout in the panchayat; no untoward incident reported in any booth

Published: 19th February 2022 04:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th February 2022 04:57 AM   |  A+A-

Voters waiting in queues at a polling booth in Kotia on Friday | Express

By Express News Service

JEYPORE/KORAPUT: Pouring cold water on the efforts of Andhra Pradesh to disrupt the rural polls, residents of Kotia group of villages turned up in record numbers to exercise their franchise on Friday. Over 76 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the panchayat. No untoward incident was reported in any of the 13 polling booths set up in Kotia. When polling began at 7 am, there was a thin attendance of voters at the booths. But as the day progressed, the polling booths witnessed huge crowds of voters. Guru Gamel, a voter, said, “We have been exercising our franchise in Kotia for years. This time too, we have come to cast our ballots.”

Sources said some AP-backed agents were camping in Neradivalasa to influence villagers to refrain from participating in the polls. But voters of the village snubbed them as Neradivalasa recorded a polling percentage of around 77. 

Former MLA of Pottangi Ram Chandra Kadam said the high voter turnout proved that villagers of Kotia are with Odisha. “I wholeheartedly thank people of Kotia for participating in the polls despite the disturbances created by AP,” he added. Earlier, Andhra Pradesh president of Loksatta party B Babji had appealed to residents of Kotia to boycott the panchayat polls of Odisha.  However, in Phagunasenari, there was a low voter turnout of around 36 per cent at the local polling booth. Besides, villagers of Dhulipadara alleged that they were not able to vote as their names were not found in the electoral roll at the polling booth in Sembi village. 

Block development officer (BDO) of Pottangi SS Mishra said polling was peaceful in Kotia with the booths witnessing huge footfall of voters. Elaborate security arrangements were put in place by Koraput police. At least six platoons of armed forces were deployed in Kotia to maintain law and order. Besides, mobile patrolling teams were deployed in different villages to keep any eye on AP-backed miscreants.There are 5,193 voters in Kotia panchayat while the zilla parishad seat is reserved for Scheduled Tribe women. Seven candidates were in fray for the sarpanch post in Kotia.


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