Political parties welcome ban on exit polls (With ‘Election Commission bans exit, opinion polls - Lead’)

February 17th, 2009 - 10:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Major political parties Tuesday welcomed the Election Commission’s decision to ban publication or telecast of opinion/exit polls 48 hours before the last hour of polling in single-phase balloting.
“We welcome this decision. Opinion polls create distortions. They can have an effect on the trend of polling. It was a feeling of almost all political parties, and the Election Commission has taken note of this feeling,” senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid told IANS.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi echoed the same view.

“Generally opinion polls don’t affect voting trends, but sponsored opinion polls can twist them. Opinion polls and surrogate advertisement were two issues that were discussed at the all-party meeting with the Election Commission, and this decision must have been taken accordingly,” Naqvi said.

Shahid Siddiqui, a Rajya Sabha member of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), said the ban would help in checking the effects that these polls sometime have in multi-phased election.

“I welcome this, it’s a great step. In a country like India where we often have multi-phased elections, these opinion polls affect the polling trends in the late phases, which is not good for free and fair elections,” Siddiqui said.

The political parties were demanding the ban on publication of exit and opinion polls during elections on the ground that they impair free and fair conduct of elections by swaying the voting patterns during a multi-phased election.

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