NEW DELHI: The Election Commission has banned the publication and dissemination of exit polls of any kind from October 12, the first phase of Bihar Assembly election, till November 5 when the last phase of the polling ends.
The Commission said the exit polls will be "prohibited" from 7 AM on October 12 when polling in the first phase starts till 5.30 PM on November 5 when the polling in the fifth and last phase ends. Using its powers under the Representation of the People Act, an EC notification said, "Conducting any exit poll and publishing or publicising by means of the print or electronic media or dissemination in any manner, whatsoever, the result of any exit poll...shall be prohibited."
The Commission has also banned the publication of results of any opinion polls 48 hours before polling in respective areas.
The poll panel had proposed that there should be a prohibition on publication and broadcast of the results of opinion polls starting from the date of notification of elections till the completion of the last phase of polls to Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.
While the government asked the EC to use its powers to do the needful, the Commission insisted that the Representation of the People Act be amended by Parliament for the purpose. The matter is still pending. Existing law allows EC to ban opinion polls 48 hours prior to voting.
Bihar Assembly polls will be held in five phases on October 12, 16, 28, November 1 and 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.