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Ban exit, opinion polls, urge RS MPs

india Updated: Sep 07, 2007 21:54 IST

Cutting across party lines, several MPs in the Rajya Sabha on Friday urged political parties to jointly approach the Supreme Court to ban exit and opinion polls as these interfered with the election process.

"A ban on these polls is vital for cleaner polity in the country," said former chief election commissioner (CEC) and Rajya Sabha member MS Gill.

"A decision on this has been lingering in the apex court for too long," he said, making a plea to all political parties to unite and "push the matter".

"If political parties in unison approach the court, the apex judiciary would have no choice but to take it seriously," Gill said, while speaking on a private member's bill on the issue.

Congress MP V Narayanasamy had moved the bill to bar both pre-poll surveys and exit polls by print and electronic media. The bill was supported by several members.

"Exit polls should not be held before the polling is over. This should be seriously taken note of," said Matilal Sarkar, Communist Party of India-Marxist MP from Tripura.

"Exit poll is making the impossible possible, and possible impossible," he said and added, "Whatever they (media) write in the exit poll influences the voters."

The legislation also sought to introduce compulsory voting in the country.

Even in the last general elections in May 2004, political parties had called for a ban on opinion polls saying that they should be banned from the first day of notification while in the case of exit polls, the parties felt that the results should not be announced before the last phase of the Lok Sabha polls.

While the Congress dubbed opinion polls as unfair, the Rashtriya Janata Dal went to the extent of demanding that even astrological predictions should not be published or telecast.