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Tuesday, Oct 19, 2021
Outlook.com

Blowing Away The Straw

Parties want to end opinion polls but don’t want to be seen doing so

Blowing Away The Straw
Illustration by Sorit
Blowing Away The Straw
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

To ban or not to ban opinion polls, that is the question. If the moves of India’s Election Commission, the main political parties and the ruling dispensation have a Hamletian ring, it is because we have been there before. Yes, in 2004, and as the political class has been wrestling with the problem for long, with Atal Behari Vajpayee’s NDA ducking the issue by settling for an amendment to restrict exit polls 48 hours before polling, the existing law. The proposal is that no polls can be published after state or parliamentary elections have been notified until after polling is completed.

Even the attorneys-general of the two coalition governments have given contradi­ctory opinions. Soli Sorabjee was against banning opinion polls, viewing it as unconstitutional, and recommended regulation without restricting content because opinion polls were a tool of democracy and reflected people’s thinking. The present A-G, G.E. Vahanavati, on the other hand, has blessed the pro­posal for the ban.

Former CEC S.M. Quraishi was a great votary of the ban....

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