New Delhi: Exit polls will be prohibited from the very first day of the five-stage Bihar assembly elections till the last day, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said on Wednesday. The Bihar polls will be held from October 12 to November 5.
"As per the law, the exit poll will be prohibited from the first day of poll of the first phase till half an hour after the appointed time of last polling day. This applies to both print and TV media," Zaidi said at a press conference here.
"Opinion poll under relevant law is prohibited in last 48 hours for electronic media, similarly advertisements are also prohibited in last 48 hours for the electronic media," he said.
"The model code of conduct will be enforced with immediate effect. Necessary instructions will be given to state and central governments for matters related to Bihar. The election commission will ensure a level-playing field to all political parties and candidates," he said.
He further said: "The commission will follow a policy of zero tolerance and will take appropriate action if any member of the election machinery is found to be prejudiced, biased in the enforcement of model code of conduct. I also appeal to the political parties and other stakeholders to cooperate with the commission in compliance with the model code of conduct."
About scaling up of VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail), Zaidi said: "VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail) will first be utilized in 36 constituencies and this will cover 34 districts out of 38 districts."
"This scaling up is being resorted to following the Supreme Court order where they have said that the commission will increase the use of VVPAT in stages," he added.
The term of the 243-member Bihar assembly comes to an end on November 29.
The assembly polls in Bihar will be held in five phases, beginning on October 12 and ending on November 5.
The vote count will take place on November 8.