The Election Commission will soon write to the Law and Justice Ministry on the views expressed by various recognised political parties on banning opinion polls during elections.

Right now the ban on displaying any election matter including results of opinion poll or any other poll survey, under Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, is applicable only to the electronic media, the cinematograph or other similar apparatus.

The ban is valid from 48 hours before the end of the first phase of poll to till the completion of polling hours in the final phase (if it is multiphase elections).

Informed sources said though the EC in 2004, had written, as part of electoral reforms, to the government suggesting that the opinion poll be banned from the date of notification (commencement of nominations for the first phase) itself there was not much progress after that. About one-and-a-half months ago, the govt had sent a communication to the EC asking it to get the views of the parties on banning opinion polls.

Among the major parties, the Congress is supporting the suggestion for banning the opinion poll, but the BJP is opposing it. The BJP felt that the ban on opinion polls would be a 'restriction' on the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed in the Constitution.

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