If Congress not ready to face `opinion poll`, how will they face elections? asks BJP

Taking potshots at Congress, which seeks a ban on opinion polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party asked how would the ruling party face upcoming elections.

Updated: Nov 08, 2013, 09:08 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Taking potshots at Congress, which seeks a ban on opinion polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday asked how would the ruling party face upcoming elections.

On microblogging website Twitter, BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tweeted: "If congress is not ready to face `opinion poll` how will they face polls? Demoralised, undemocratic mindset of congress exposed...."

Five states, including Mizoram, are to go to the polls November-December.

Political parties are divided on the proposal to restrict opinion polls in the run-up to the elections, with the Congress and the BSP saying these do not reflect the correct picture, and the BJP claiming that restricting them was constitutionally neither permissible nor desirable.

BJP leader Arun Jaitley wrote an article on his party website, saying that "a potential loser in the elections cannot seek to alter the rules of free speech".

An opinion poll last week had predicted that the Bharatiya Janata Party was expected to form governments in three of the four Hindi heartland states going to polls in November-December. It had also said the BJP was ahead in the three-way race in Delhi.

BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi also hit out at the Congress, and termed its suggestion to restrict opinion polls "puerile".

The BJP`s ally, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), appeared to speak in different voices in the matter. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the Congress only revealed its desperation, seeing the writing on the wall, in seeking a restriction on the opinion polls.

SAD MP Naresh Gujral, however, said it was seen in the past that political parties use companies to influence voters.

The Congress on Monday defended its view that opinion polls should be restricted during elections, but asserted that it never opposed them.

"We have never opposed opinion polls... but the party has maintained that they are doubtful... we don`t trust them," Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal told reporters when asked about his party`s response to the Election Commission (EC).

In its October 30 response to the EC, the Congress supported the commission`s view that opinion polls should be restricted during election time.

The EC had sought the views of the political parties on restricting publication and dissemination of opinion polls during elections.

According to the Congress response, these random surveys "lack credibility" and could be "manipulated and manoeuvred" by people with "vested interests".

Sources said the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has written to the commission that opinion polls do not reflect the correct picture of voters at large.

It said such opinions were susceptible to being managed to confuse voters.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury said that results of opinion polls should not be published after the poll panel has made notification of elections.

At present, a ban on the publication of opinion polls 48 hours before voting is over is operational.

(With IANS inputs)