The Congress has endorsed the Election Commission's views on restricting publication and dissemination of opinion polls during elections. Random surveys, the party says, are “erroneous”, “lack credibility” and can be “manipulated” by vested interests.

The Congress’s response comes in the wake of the EC last month seeking the views of political parties on the issue of banning opinion polls after the government asked it to hold fresh consultations on the issue.

Opinion polls during elections “are neither scientific nor is there any transparent process for such polls,” KC Mittal, Secretary of the Congress’s Legal and Human Rights Department, wrote in the party's official response to the EC, adding that also do not help in strengthening democratic institutions and more often than not are “erroneous” as they do not represent the views of the majority of the electorate.

The EC’s letter to political parties followed a proposal it had submitted to the government to ban opinion polls that was turned down with the plea that the poll body should hold fresh consultations on the issue.

The last time the EC had convened a meeting of political parties to elicit their views on prohibiting or restricting publishing results of opinion polls and exit polls during elections was on April 6, 2004, when parties unanimously said that results of exit polls should not be published before close of poll in all phases of elections. They had also agreed that opinion polls should not be disseminated during the period starting from date of notification to poll completion. Following this, exit polls were banned. Ends

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