No ban on opinion, exit polls: Rijiju tells Lok Sabha
The existing law allows EC to ban such polls just 48 hours before voting and no telecast is allowed till the conclusion of the last phase as ordered by the Supreme Court
Responding to a question in Lok Sabha on whether the government was considering a ban on opinion and exit polls after the announcement of elections and implementation of the model code of conduct, till the result is announced, Rijiju said, “No such proposal as regards a ban on opinion poll is under consideration.”
The matter was raised after the election commission (EC) demanded a ban on the publication and broadcast of opinion polls during the announcement of the election schedule and the final phase of polling.
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To this, the law minister said, “To have free and fair elections in the country, there exists a restriction on the conduct of any exit poll, and publishing or publicising by any means, the result of any exit poll during the period starting from the commencement of polls till half an hour after the closing of the poll in all the states and union territories.”
The credibility of prediction polls has always remained a controversial yet curious topic. The existing law allows EC to ban such polls just 48 hours before voting and no telecast is allowed till the conclusion of the last phase as ordered by the Supreme Court.
The issue of publications of exit and opinion polls was also taken up by the apex court on three different occasions however the imprecise science of predicting elections has been in crisis in the last few decades.
Opinion polls conducted to project the 2004 Lok Sabha elections were completely wrong. Neither the Lok Sabha elections of 2009, 2014 and 2019 nor the state elections in recent times by several publications were in tie-up with prediction polls.
Allegations of influencing the polls by political parties are also nothing new while critics have questioned the choice, timing, and articulation of questions by pollsters and the area and nature of the survey done.