On Tuesday the Election Commission has cleared that exit poll results for Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat assembly elections cannot be made public before December 14 evening. A poll panel order citing election law said, “conducting any exit poll and publishing or publicising by means of the print or electronic media or dissemination in any other manner, whatsoever the result of any exit poll in connection with the current general elections to the legislative assemblies of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat shall be prohibited.” It also said displaying any election matter, including results of any opinion poll or any other poll survey, in any electronic media, would be prohibited 48 hours prior to the election day.
In yet another statement, the commission said that TV channels, radio stations and cable networks should ensure that the contents of the programmes beamed by them 48 hours before the election day “do not contain any material, including views/appeals by panelists/participants that may be construed as promoting/prejudicing the prospect of any particular party or candidate or influencing/affecting the result of the election.”
The existing law allows the EC to ban opinion polls 48 hours prior to voting. It must be noted that the single-phase assembly election in Himachal Pradesh will be held on November 9, the first phase of polls in Gujarat will take place on December 9. The second phase will be held on December 14.