Exit polls best left to entertainment channels: CEC
Political parties and analysts may have shown interest in the exit polls telecast by different channels over the weekend, but the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi is not impressed with the exercise. "Opinion and exit polls should at best be on entertainment channels," he wrote on the social networking site, Twitter, on Sunday afternoon, taking a dig at such surveys.
Quraishi's reaction, who made his Twitter debut on February 29, came as television news channels were busy predicting government formations and possible political fallouts of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
The Election Commission had earlier banned exit polls till March 3, when the final round of voting took place. The commission has been strongly opposed to opinion and exit polls and has been demanding a complete ban on them.
Quraishi also brushed aside criticism against the commission on the notices and action taken against some union ministers during the high voltage campaign. He said it was part of the game and the commission had taken it in its stride. The CEC said the poll panel had sufficient authority under the existing laws to conduct of free and fair elections and did not require any more powers.
"We do not require any more powers. The model code of conduct is sufficient. But we need to fine-tune and update certain provisions of the Representation of the People Act to make penalties for code violation more stringent," Quraishi said.
He said the current fines imposed for violations of model code of conduct under the law need to be enhanced. "For instance, there is a fine of only Rs 500 prescribed under the Act for a violation, which needs to be updated to bring it in line with the current realities."
Quraishi said the commission was opposed to any change in the model code of conduct which ensures free and fair polls.