Opinion polls should be banned: EC

Chief Election Commissioner said opinion polls should be banned because of the paid news problem.

Bhopal: Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi on Sunday said opinion polls should be banned and there should be a check on advertisements that appear in the print
media on the day of the polls.

"I feel that the opinion polls should be banned because of the paid news problem," he said at the first regional consultation on electoral reform here.

While he did not elaborate on the idea, he said opinion polls seemed to be an interference on free and fair polls.

He said there was also a need to check advertisements which appear in the print media on the day of polls as they have an impact on voters` mind.

Referring to electoral malpractices, Quraishi said the people indulging in these practices get away with a small punishment of around Rs 500 which was meagre and should be

He said the commission has also received complaints that envelopes containing money were distributed among voters by the candidates after the campaigning was over.

He said a system should be developed to ensure that votes of different areas are mixed before being counted.

He pointed out that during the manual counting of the ballots earlier, the votes were mixed to ensure that the mandate in a given area was kept secret.

The consultation on electoral reform was organised by Ministry of Law and Justice and Election Commission of India at the Academy of Administration and Management here.

Seven regional consultation on electoral reforms will be organised before the national consultation to be held on April 2 and 3.

Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily today said elections should be the "festivals of democracy".

"Elections should be festivals of democracy," he said at the regional consultation on electoral reforms here.

He said seven regional consultations on electoral reforms would be held at different places before national consultations scheduled for April 2 and 3 to draw a road map.

"We want to listen to people by holding consultations, improve the system and hold free and fair polls. We want to make elections here a role model for other countries. We are
working on it," he said, adding, electoral reform is a national and not a political agenda.


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