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Opinion polls lack transparency, credibility: Dikshit

Amid sparring by political parties over opinion polls, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday supported Congress' demand for regulating them during elections, saying such surveys lack credibility.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2013 20:05 IST

Amid sparring by political parties over opinion polls, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday supported Congress' demand for regulating them during elections, saying such surveys lack credibility as they are not conducted in a transparent way.

Dikshit said opinion polls do not reflect the ground realities and there is a need to examine the issue carefully as results of the surveys can influence voters.

"The results of the opinion polls are not factually correct. They are not conducted in a transparent way. Often wrong message goes to people because of these surveys," she said replying to a question on the issue.

A number of opinion polls in the last one month predicted a hung House for Delhi in the December 4 assembly polls as most of them projected that neither the BJP nor Congress will get majority on its own.

Some opinion polls have projected that AAP may eat into Congress' vote share and even predicted significant number of seats for it in the 70-member Delhi assembly.

Questioning reliability of the opinion polls, Dikshit said there was scope for "manipulation" of the results by vested interests.

"We cannot rely on the opinion polls as there may be so many things behind these surveys. I do not think they reflect the real picture. There was a need to examine the issue," she said.

Congress and a number of political parties have sought a ban or regulation on opinion polls during the election process while BJP opposed it vehemently saying the ruling party was favouring prohibition fearing defeat in the upcoming assembly polls and Lok Sabha election next year.

The Election Commission had sought the views of various parties on banning opinion polls after the government asked it to do so.

The Congress had written to the Commission on Saturday favouring restriction on the publication and dissemination of opinion polls during polls. It said random surveys were "erroneous", "lack credibility" and could be "manipulated" by vested interests.

Asked about onion prices, Dikshit said the rates have come down significantly and will decline further due to improved supply.

"The onion prices have already come down. I am confident that it will fall further," she said.

Concerned over possible impact of high prices of onion in the election, the Congress government had taken a number of initiatives, including directly procuring the bulb from Maharashtra and Rajasthan, to stabilise prices.

The Congress had come to power in Delhi in 1998 riding on high onion prices. The government had last month started selling onions at Rs 55 a kg across the city by deploying 125 mobile vans.

The price of onion in the retail market in the city has come down to Rs 60-70 a kg against Rs 100 a few days back.

On rise in prices of other vegetables, the Chief Minister said, "We are moving from summer to winter vegetables. So there will be some alterations in prices of vegetables. But I am sure the rates will stabilise in the next couple of weeks."

Meanwhile, three Delhi ministers Arvind Singh, Raj Kumar Chouhan and Harun Yusuf attacked BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan accusing him of trying to mislead people on the issue of regularisation of colonies.

Vardhan had yesterday said that a separate development authority on the lines of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) will be set up for all round development of the unauthorised colonies and the rural areas, if BJP was voted to power.

"After becoming the Chief Ministerial candidate, he has now started talking about the unauthorised colonies. This is a kind of about turn by him as until recently he was opposed to regularisation of the unauthorised colonies," said Singh.

Claiming that Delhi government has been doing "everything possible" to provide basic facilities in the unauthorised colonies, Singh alleged that Vardhan was opposed to regularising such settlements.

The Delhi government last year had regularised 895 unauthorised colonies out of 1,639 such settlements.

On BJP highlighting Vardhan's role in eradication of polio during his tenure as Health Minister from 1993 to 1998, Singh accused the party of trying to "mislead people" on the issue.

"It was a scheme sponsored by the central government. The BJP is trying to mislead the people. If the party does not stop misleading the people, then we will go to the Election Commission and file a complaint," said Singh.

On Chhat puja, Chouhan said government has made elaborate arrangement at various ghats across Yamuna. Devotees flock to various ghats along the Yamuna to offer prayers to the Sun on Chhat Puja, which is celebrated in Delhi by an estimated 40-lakh-strong Poorvanchali population.

This year's Chhat Puja will be celebrated on November 8 and 9. On BJP's demand for declaring gazetted holiday for Chhat Puja, Singh accused the party of politicising the issue.

"I want to ask BJP which gazetted holiday should be striked out from the existing list to accommodate holiday for Chhat puja. The list cannot be extended as per central government rules," he said.

First Published: Nov 05, 2013 19:59 IST