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Kandhamal tribals threaten to boycott Odisha polls

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Phulbani, Mar 31:

Deprived of basic facilities for years together, around 5,000 tribal people have threatened to boycott polls for the Kandhamal Lok Sabha and Phulbani Assembly seats in Odisha forcing the district administration to try and pursuade them to participate in the electoral process.

The tirbals of Bilabadi, Danga, Shraba, Mallickpada, Shamapaju, Birigada and five other villages have alleged that the state government is apathetic towards fulfilling their basic demands like drinking water, electricity, education and healthcare.

“The government has failed in providing facilities like proper communication, education, healthcare, drinking water, electricity and essential services. While we have been neglected by the government, no leaders have ever visited us or heard our plights,” said a tribal leader.

Similarly, about 6,000 voters in five tribal dominated Gram Panchayats in Balliguda Assembly constituency have also threatened to boycott the polls to express their ire against government.

The district administration said it was trying to persuade them to use their rights and exercise their franchise in due time. “We are pursuading them to cast their votes, which is their right. We have assured them that their demands will be addressed,” Kandhamal district collector N Tirumala Nayak.