Party accused of using public money

Staff Reporter

BHUBANESWAR: Leaders of State unit of Congress were on Saturday at loss of words after the party suffered one of the biggest defeats in the hands of Biju Janata Dal in the Assembly as well as Parliamentary elections.

While a dejected Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Kamakhya Prasad Singh Deo confined himself to a room and refused to talk to media at party headquarters here, other party leaders were incoherently spelling out the reasons behind the heavy defeat.

Mr. Singh Deo was scheduled to address a customary press conference after elections trends gave clearer indication about party’s defeat, but he did not turn up by maintaining to be busy.

Addressing the media Sibananda Ray, OPCC vice-president, said BJD spent huge amount of public money to remain in power and in the process it did not hesitate resorting to rigging, manipulation and use of muscle power.

“About 50 electronic voting machines were missing. The administration used the EVMs to their advantage by tampering during and after elections,” Mr. Ray said.

He said that the OPCC president was not given freedom on candidate selections for the elections that led to internal conflict inside the party and finally candidates had to lose. Senior party leader Niranjan Patnaik said Orissa matter was handled the way it should have been.

Moreover, tampering of EVMs and use of administration in the election process acted against Congress, Mr. Patnaik said. Spokesperson of State unit of Congress Kailash Acharya said the allegation about vote rigging and other manipulation in voting should immediately be cleared by the authorities, otherwise people would not participate in electoral democracy.

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