Congress general secretary in charge of the party's affairs in Orissa Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday alleged "manipulation" of electronic voting machines (EVMs) had led to the party's defeat in the assembly and parliamentary elections in the state.
"EVMs were manipulated during the poll which resulted in defeat of many Congress candidates," Azad said in a press conference here.
The Congress won only 27 of the state's 147 assembly seats and six of the 21 Lok Sabha constituencies in Orissa. The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, bagged 103 assembly and 14 Lok Sabha seats.
Azad met the candidates in the twin polls and reviewed the reasons of dismal show, constituency wise. After the review meeting, he also charged the BJD with misusing the official machinery during the polls.
"There was a wide-scale misuse of official machinery by the ruling BJD, which led to the debacle of the Congress party in the poll," he alleged.
Azad blamed the BJD for converting the flagship schemes initiated by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) into other schemes of state government, extracting all the mileage. He conceded the "last minute changes in leadership and failure to choose the right candidate" were also responsible for the Congress's defeat.
The meeting was attended by all the candidates, district level office-bearers and other senior leaders of the party. However, Azad did not say anything about any likely change in the state unit leadership following the poll debacle.