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Election Commission (EC) likely to ban opinion polls

Wednesday, 26 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

The Election Commission (EC) has started probing the authenticity of opinion polls after a sting operation by a TV channel.

"We have asked for the raw footage of tapes from the channel, and they have agreed to give. After forensic analysis and thorough examination of the footage, we may take a call on banning opinion polls. This is already an existing demand," a top EC official told dna.

The sting operation exposed 11 agencies relaying opinion polls to the media.

Almost all these polls predicted a Congress rout and that had angered the party leadership.

The channel exposed many agencies, except CSDS and Neilson. Well-known faces of leading agencies were caught on hidden camera admitting malpractices and how they manipulate the results at the instance of political parties, and show a particular party in favourable position for a price.

Not knowing they were being trapped in a sting, they admitted that they have been doing this for many years, providing the same data to different parties, posing as two separate companies.

Explaining how the results are tweaked to project a particular party, the TV programme, 'Operation Prime Minister', quotes one saying how "3 per cent margin of error is changed to 5 per cent" and "10 seats increased to 18" to suit the party paying the money.

The agencies also claimed they can even prop up dummy candidates in constituencies, where rival candidates are on a strong wicket.

Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil called the opinion polls a "racket", "farce" and "manipulated" exercise, saying, "we had told you so."

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