More parties back demand for ban on opinion polls

New Delhi: A number of political parties on Monday joined Congress in seeking 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.
As the Election Commission proposal triggered a major debate on the way opinion polls are conducted, BJP, widely projected by pre-poll surveys to do well in the forthcoming assembly polls and Lok Sabha elections later, exploited it to its advantage.
It attacked the Congress for its demand saying, a “loser” cannot seek to alter the rules of the game.
However, BJP ally, Akali Dal as well as BSP, SP and DMK have supported the ban on opinion polls while CPI(M) and CPI favoured regulating such polls, especially once the elections are announced and Model Code of Conduct comes into force.
The EC deadline for the purpose expired today. The BSP wrote to the Commission seeking a ban on opinion polls during elections. In its communication, the party said opinion polls do not reflect the correct picture.
CPI(M) and CPI said it has no objection on conduct of the opinion polls but the results should not be published once the election process starts and Model Code is in force. It also cautioned against manipulation of such polls.
The EC had sought the views of various parties on banning opinion polls after the government asked it to do so.
The Congress wrote 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.