EC seeks action against opinion poll manipulators

Commission asks Delhi Police to investigate incident thoroughly

EC seeks action against opinion poll manipulators

Acting on a complaint filed by the Congress on the basis of a sting operation, the Election Commission (EC) has sought multi-dimensional actions, including criminal prosecution, against organisations that allegedly manipulated opinion polls.

In a letter to the Ministries of Corporate Affairs and Information and Broadcasting, the commission urged for appropriate action stating that the matter involved allegations of conspiracy to prepare false reports/polls to publish misleading information in return for illegal payments.

EC Principal Secretary K Ajaya Kumar wrote to the secretaries of the two ministries, besides forwarding the complaint to the Law Ministry and the Delhi Police Commissioner.

In its missive to the Press Council of India and News Broadcasters Association, the official suggested that appropriate guidelines and norms be prescribed and followed by the press while engaging agencies for the conduction of opinion polls, including its methodology and result publishing, so that the media could be held accountable for fabricated results, if any.

The EC said that it has received a complaint from the Congress based on a sting operation on some of the organisations that conduct opinion polls in connection with the elections.

“The allegation is that the organisations have agreed to manipulate the results of opinion polls by tweaking figures for publishing to the general public,” the poll panel noted.
Taking exception to the alleged manipulation by leading agencies, the Congress had on Wednesday knocked at the EC’s door seeking its intervention to register an FIR, invoke criminal charges and debar those involved.

A news channel claimed that its sting operation had exposed 11 agencies which conducted opinion polls.

The EC, in its communication to the Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi, sought a probe into the matter for urgent and appropriate action.

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