The SP has written to the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking a ban on opinion polls being aired by many TV channels ahead of Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.
In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner on Sunday, the party claimed that airing of the polls is a violation of the model code of conduct and can misguide the voters.
Rajendra Chaudhary, SP spokesperson, stated: “SP’s UP unit chief Naresh Uttam Patel has written a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner stating that the voting for the final phase of the seven-phase UP election will be held on March 7, while counting of votes will be held on March 10. However, some news channels are showing opinion polls, which… misguides the voters and also influences the poll.”
Patel’s letter said: “Ban, with immediate effect, the opinion polls being run on television news channels… Several television news channels are running opinion polls that are misleading the voters, and the elections are getting affected. At the same time it is also an open violation of the Model Code of Conduct for elections… so for free, fair, fearless polls it is necessary to ban opinion polls on television news channels with immediate effect.”
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But the rival BJP sees the SP’s plea to the EC as “desperation” on the part of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.
BJP’s UP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi reportedly said: “Sometimes he (Yadav) raises questions on the impartiality of the Election Commission, and sometimes he cries stating his weakness vis-a-vis the campaigning through the digital medium. Now, he is demanding that the surveys should be stopped. The reality is that he is feeling disturbed by the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.”
SP spokesperson Abdul Hafiq Gandhi was quoted as saying: “What’s the point in having an election if TV channels are issuing verdicts like this that might affect voters’ mindset? It is necessary to ban the opinion polls to make it a level playing field for all in the fray. We all are well aware of the history of opinion polls and how off the mark they often turn out to be. And also the credibility of such surveys has been in question.”