After Bharatiya Janata Party 'lead' in opinion polls shrouded by fraud, Congress seeks to leverage sting further

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 26 2014, 23:11pm hrs
Till now most opinion polls said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was in front on formation of govt at Centre in wake of Lok Sabha polls, which showed Congress in poor light. Now, with the sting operation alleging fraud in 'fixing' opinion poll results coming in as a blessing for Congress, the party is looking to derive further advantage from the discomfiture of the main opposition party led by Narendra Modi at the hustings, by approaching the Election Commission.

Congress has taken exception to alleged manipulation of opinion poll results by leading agencies and has today, knocked at the doors of the Election Commission seeking its intervention to register an FIR, invoke criminal charges and debar those involved.

Congress has also demanded that the Commission invokes its powers under Artcile 324 of the Constitution to ensure free and fair polls by issuing instructions banning opinion polls until expiry of 48 hours from the close of polling for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath and other ECs, AICC Secretary K C Mittal has sought the Commission's immediate intervention and issuance of appropriate instructions to restrict publication of such opinion polls in view of the sting operation.

The Congress also sought the EC's intervention in registering an FIR and debarring those involved.

A TV news channel yesterday claimed that a sting operation conducted by it had shown that some of the agencies which conduct opinion polls before elections are willing to tweak their findings for money.

The channel claimed that its sting operation had "exposed" 11 agencies which conducted opinion polls.

"Since the Lok Sabha elections are due to be held in the near future and the manner in which opinion polls are managed and manipulated and are capable of being managed and manipulated by the vested interest, it is a serious threat and danger to the conduct of fair poll by the Commission, a duty and responsibility cast under article 324 of Constitution of India," Mittal said in his letter.

He said the sting operation reveals the manner in which voters are being "duped and cheated in a fraudulent and dishonest manner which is disastrous for democracy and fair polls".

Congress said the nature of revelation and manner would fully justify the immediate intervention and action by the Commission to invoke its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution and issue necessary instructions so as to ensure free and fair poll.

It also demanded that the matter be also referred to Press Council of India, the Ministry of I&B for their action under their authority.