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Opinion polls ‘manipulated’: Congress

EC had last month sought views of various political parties on the issue of banning opinion polls after the government asked it to hold fresh consultations on the issue.

In a written reply to the Commission on October 30, the Congress party said that it ‘fully endorses the views of the Election Commission of India to restrict publication and dissemination of opinion polls during the election’.

‘In fact the opinion polls during election are neither scientific nor is there any transparent process for such polls,’ said the secretary of AICC Legal and Human Rights Department K C Mittal in the party's official response to EC.

The party said that the random survey conducted ‘lacks credibility’ and could be ‘manipulated and manoeuvred’ by persons having ‘vested interest’. The opinion polls do not help in strengthening the democratic institutions and more often than not are ‘erroneous’ as they do not represent the views of the majority of the electorate, it said.

‘These are contrary to the basic electoral concept and process undertaken by the ECI in discharge of its obligations. As such we appreciate the initiative taken by ECI,’ Mittal said.

The poll body had asked various recognized national and state political parties to give their views on the issue by October 21. At present, there is ban on opinion polls starting from 48 hours before voting.

‘The commission desires the views of your political party on the proposal to prohibit conducting opinion polls and disseminating results thereof during the election period may be communicated to the commission. This may kindly be done latest by October 21, 2013,’ said a EC letter to presidents/general secretaries/chairpersons of all recognized parties.
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