Acting on a complaint by the Congress party on alleged manipulation of opinion polls by some organisations, the Election Commission (EC) has asked the Centre to take "appropriate action" on the matter.
In a communication to the ministries of corporate affairs and information and broadcasting, the EC has said the matter involves allegations of conspiracy to prepare false reports/polls for publishing misleading information on consideration of illegal payment of money in return.
"Therefore, it is requested that this complaint may be looked into urgently for appropriate action at your end," K Ajaya Kumar, the principal secretary of the Election Commission of India, wrote to the secretaries of the two ministries.
The EC said that it had received a complaint from the Congress. The ruling party had knocked on the EC's doors after a TV news channel claimed that a sting operation carried out by it had shown that some of the agencies which conduct opinion polls before elections were willing to tweak their findings for money.
The channel claimed that its sting operation had "exposed" 11 agencies which conducted opinion polls.
"The allegation is that the organisations have agreed to manipulate the results of opinion polls by tweaking figures for publishing to the general public," the poll panel noted.
Taking exception to alleged manipulation of opinion poll results by leading agencies, the Congress had on Wednesday sought the EC's intervention to register an FIR, invoke criminal charges and debar those involved.
Expressing happiness over the EC's decision, the secretary of AICC legal and human department cell KC Mittal said, "The action taken would expose the nexus, manipulations and the vulnerability of opinion polls and the manner in which the fake projections are being used to mislead the people of India to project certain individuals and parties."
In its missive to the EC, the Congress had also demanded that the commission should invoke its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution to ensure free and fair polls by issuing instructions banning opinion polls until expiry of 48 hours from the close of polling for Lok Sabha elections.
In a letter to chief election commissioner VS Sampath and other ECs, Mittal had sought the commission's immediate intervention and issuance of appropriate instructions to restrict publication of such opinion polls.