12 villages can vote in M'rashtra and Telangana

12 villages can vote in M'rashtra and Telangana

12 villages can vote in M'rashtra and Telangana

Five months back, residents of this remote village voted to elect a legislator to the Telangana Assembly. On Wednesday they are exercising their franchise in the Maharashtra Assembly elections.

Voters in this sleepy hamlet and 12 others in its vicinity do not know where they belong — to Maharashtra or the newly carved state of Telangana. Both states claim the villages as their territories and have issued relevant documents to about 3,500 residents of these 12-and-a-half villages.

The 12 villages are Paramdoli, Kota, Shankarloddi, Mukadampura, Lendijala, Antapur, Bholapathar, Gowri, Indira Nagar, Lendiguda, Esapur and Padmavathi. Interestingly, Maharashtra and Telangana have laid joint claim only to half of Maharajguda village, leaving the other half as undisputed territory.

The villagers here figure in the voters lists of both the states. Their dual identity also enables them to draw benefits from the two states.

“We will also vote in the Maharashtra elections, as we did in the Andhra Pradesh polls in May,” 55-year-old  Chandu Devsinh Pawar told Deccan Herald flashing voter identity cards issued by both the authorities of the two states. Pawar is a former sarpanch of his village which about 120 km from Chandrapur.

Param Doli village about six kilometres away from here has two sarpanchs – Waman Pawar elected in the local body polls held by Telangana and Devji Aadhe in Maharashtra. Most of the villages have two separate buildings housing the gram panchayat, two buildings of the district primary school, water supply facilities provided by the two states and even two different bank accounts opened by the respective state governments.

A majority of the population in these villages belong to the Banjara community or nomads. The community is categorised as tribal by the Telangana government, while in Maharashtra it is listed under Nomadic Tribes.

“From Telangana we get rice at Re 1 per kg, while from Maharashtra we get it at Rs 3 per kg,” said Shantabai Pawar. Recently, the Pawars constructed concrete houses under the Indiramma scheme of the Telangana government.

The dispute over the villages dates back to 40 years. In 1999, the Andhra Pradesh High Court declared these villages to be part of Andhra Pradesh. Maharashtra government moved the Supreme Court, where the appeal is pending.