Even as a political debate over ban on opinion polls continues, the Election Commission has banned publication or broadcast of opinion polls 48 hours before polling in a state.
The commission has invoked Representation of People’s Act which prohibits campaigning for two days before polling so that the voter can decide without any outside influence. The law gives the election officers power to book a person for campaigning during this period which can result in a jail term for a year.
In a communication to chief electoral officers of five poll bound states the commission said any campaigns including opinion polls were not allowed in the last 48 hours. “We have powers to take action against media organizations which publish or broadcast any campaign material,” a commission official said. In the past, the commission had booked an editor of a television channel for broadcasting an opinion poll during the prohibition period.
The commission also banned publication of exit polls in the five poll bound states from November 11 till December 4. The commission believes that exit polls adversely disturb the electoral level playing field.