The Election Commission (EC) has prohibited exit polls for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections till 5.30 p.m. on March 9 following the death of the Samajwadi Party candidate for the Alapur seat, in the wake of which polling, originally scheduled for February 27, has been pushed back to Thursday, an official said. State Chief Electoral Officer T. Venkatesh said on Monday that if any media organisation published or broadcast exit polls before the stipulated deadline it would be treated as violation of the Model Code of Conduct and strictly dealt with.
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The earlier deadline of the exit polls was 30 minutes after the conclusion of the staggered seven-phase polls on March 8. Voting in Uttar Pradesh began on February 11 and was scheduled to conclude on Wednesday after a hectic, long drawn and caustic campaigning by various political parties. Results of the 403 state assembly seats would be announced on March 11. Hectic preparations were underway across the state for the counting of votes. The Electronic Voting Machines are stored under heavy security in the 75 districts of the state.