Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Exit poll of first phase of elections: broad trends

In pursuance of the Order passed by the Supreme Court on 19-01-2009, in writ petition ( C) No. 207 of 2004, the Election Commission issued Guidelines, on 17th February, 09, to be followed in the matter of publication/dissemination of results of opinion polls and exit polls in connection with the current elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies. As per the guidelines, result of opinion/exit polls carried out at any time, cannot be published, publicized or disseminated in any manner, during the period starting from 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in the first phase of election and till the conclusion of poll in the last phase of election. The period referred to in the guidelines starts from 3 PM on the 14th April, 09 and will continue till the conclusion of poll in the last ( the fifth) phase of election.

The language of the E.C.'s above order appears to be causing some confusion. The phrase "cannot be published, publicized or disseminated in any manner" is difficult to comprehend. What if a person who has access to the results of the exit polls, conveys it by word of mouth, or even chooses to blog? Does this restriction apply only to actual projection of seats to be won by respective parties or even to projection of broad trends?

This blogger, who also happens to be a reputed columnist and a television commentator, gives us a glimpse of the broad trends projected by an exit poll on April 16. Read on, and quench your curiosity. The author of this blog apparently believes that the E.C.'s restriction does not apply to him, even while conceding that it would not be proper to divulge the actual seat tally projected by the exit poll.
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