Opinion polls: Congress wants ban but BJP has changed its mind,EC tells Law Ministry

Sources in the Law Ministry say a final decision on the issue would be taken "in due course".

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Published on:November 15, 2013 12:41 pm

After getting fresh support from various political parties,the Election Commission has written to the Ministry of Law and Justice for a ban on opinion polls from the date of notification of elections.

In a communication to the Law Ministry,the Election Commission has said that a total of 15 political parties,including five national and 10 regional parties,responded to its proposal on opinion polls and a majority of them supported the ban.

“Five national parties and 10 state parties have submitted their views on the matter,” the Commission said after it wrote to various parties seeking their views afresh on opinion polls.

The Law Ministry had asked the Commission to hold fresh consultations with parties on the issue and then give its views.

While forwarding the response of the parties,the poll panel noted that it had previously held consultations with parties on the issue on April 6,2004.

“The political parties were then (2004) of the unanimous view that publishing the results of opinion poll should be prohibited from the date of notification of election.

“Accordingly,the proposal made by the Commission was for a provision made in the law prohibiting publishing and dissemination of result of opinion poll from the date of notification of election,” the EC letter says.

A perusal of views expressed by various parties on the issue of opinion poll reveals that barring BJP,almost all parties have sought a ban or restriction of some kind on the dissemination of result of opinion poll ahead of elections.

Prominent parties which sought a ban or restriction on opinion polls ahead of elections include Congress,CPI-M,BSP and NCP,besides SP,AIADMK,DMK,JD-U,Shiv Sena and SAD.

The TMC,DMDK,IUML and KJP have also favoured a ban/ restriction on polls during elections,saying it affects the voters.

The BJP,however,says there should be no ban as this would fall in the realm of a restriction on fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression.

A number of political parties have responded positively to the EC proposal,with Congress leading the bandwagon in seeking a complete ban or regulation on opinion polls during the election process.

The EC proposal has already triggered a major debate on the way opinion polls are conducted as BJP is widely projected by pre-poll surveys to do well in the forthcoming assembly polls and Lok Sabha elections and is thu exploiting it to its advantage.

It has attacked the Congress for its demand saying,a “loser” cannot seek to alter the rules of the game.

The BSP has also sought a ban on opinion polls during elections,saying such surveys do not reflect the correct picture as there is no proper or scientific method to know the response of voters.

CPI(M) supports the proposal to prohibit publishing the results of opinion polls during a reasonable period before the date of poll and till half and hour after the conclusion of poll in all the constituencies.

Supporting the proposal,the Congress has fully endorsed restricting publishing and dissemination of opinion polls during election.

While the NCP has said that opinion polls should also be banned similar to exit polls,the Trinamool Congress …continued »

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