Armed with the complaint from ruling Congress regarding manipulation of opinion poll results, the Election Commission has asked the Centre to prohibit publishing and dissemination of opinion poll results from the date of notification of the election.
In a letter to the Ministry of Law and Justice, the Election Commission recalled its earlier proposal to amend the law to restrict publishing of opinion poll results.
“However, no action has been taken on the proposal which was initially made in 2004. In view of the issues raised in the complaint by the Indian National Congress, the Commission would like necessary action to be taken by the government on its above referred proposal,” said K Ajaya Kumar, the principal secretary of the Election Commission of India.
Seeks Police Probe
Acting on the complaint by the Congress, the EC also asked the Delhi Police to probe into allegation that some organisations have agreed to manipulate the results of opinion polls by tweaking figures.
In a communication to the Delhi Police Commissioner, the EC said: “The matter involves allegations of conspiracy to prepare false reports/polls for publishing misleading information on consideration of illegal payment of money in return. Therefore, the Commission desires that the matter may be probed into for urgent appropriate action.”
The EC requested the Ministries of Information and Broadcasting and Corporate Affairs to look into the Congress’ complaint urgently for appropriate action.
The EC also asked the Press Council of India to consider prescribing appropriate guidelines and norms to be followed by the media while engaging the agencies for conducting opinion polls, methodology of conducting such polls and publishing results of opinion polls so as to ensure transparency in the conduct of the process and to make the media accountable for publishing results of fabricated opinion polls.
Taking exceptions to alleged manipulation of opinion poll results by leading agencies, the Congress on Wednesday sought the EC’s intervention to register an FIR, invoke criminal charges and debar those involved in the unholy nexus.
The Congress demanded that the EC should invoke its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution to ensure free and fair polls by issuing instructions banning opinion polls until expiry of 48 hours from the close of polling for Lok Sabha elections.