Ahead of the election on April 10, threats of poll boycott have started to come up from different groups in districts of south Odisha. According to the officials managing the elections, most of these poll boycott calls are to highlight the old demands and during polling process, they may not have much impact. Apart from people’s organisations, the outlawed CPI (Maoist) organisation has given the boycott call.
In Koraput district, Nuka Dora and Muka Dora community have threatened to stay away from poll, if they did not get promises on their demand to get recognised as tribals. Two tribal groups in Kandhamal district have also threatened to boycott in protest against the alleged lack of basic amenities. Residents of Gangabada panchayat in Gajapati district too have given a call over lack of development.
Speaking to The Hindu , Sudhansu Padhi, adviser of Abahelita Dora Mahasangh , said in adjoining Andhra Pradesh, all sections of Dora community were considered tribals. But in Odisha, Konda Dora and Lanjia Dora community were called tribals while the other two communities were yet to get the legal status of tribals. Nuka Dora and Muka Dora families mostly live at Pottangi, Nandapur, and Semiligud areas of Pottangi Assembly segment under Koraput Lok Sabha constituency.
In Kandhamal district, tribal voters of Bilabadi, Danga, Shraba, Mallikpada, Shamapaju, Birigada, and five other villages under Phulbani Assembly segment under Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat, have given poll boycott call with the allegation that the State government was not showing interest to solve basic problems in their area. Their demands include alleviation of problems pertaining to communication, education, medical facility, drinking water, and electricity. There are around 5,000 voters in the area.
Similarly, around 5,000 voters in five tribal-dominated panchayats in Baliguda Assembly constituency have threatened to boycott alleging that till now, there has been no development in their area.
In Gajapati distrct, the sarpanch of Gangabada panchayat has handed over a list of 10 demands related to lack of basic amenities.
On Monday, through an Odia audio clip, Maoists of Ghumusar, Nagavali, and Bansadhara divisions gave the call for boycott. Through this audio message, the ultras also gave bandh call in Koraput, Kandhamal, Rayagada, and Gajapati districts on the day of polling. According to police, like past elections this bandh call by Maoists would have little impact on the voters.