The Election Commission on Monday made note of the “exit poll” conducted by Resource Development International and its findings published by Dainik Jagran, the most circulated Hindi newspaper in the country. Calling it a clear violation of the Representation of the People Act, the polling monitor directed the 15 District Election Offices that fall under phase one of the Uttar Pradesh polls to file separate FIRs against the newspaper’s editor-in-chief.
“It is in clear violation of Section 126 A and B of the Representation of the People Act and wilful disobedience of lawful directions of the commission under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code,” and EC spokesperson said, according to The Hindu. “Reports have been sought from the the UP Chief Electoral Officer urgently.”
Publishing exit polls during ongoing elections is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct. Section 188 of the Act is a cognisable offence, which gives police the right to arrest editors without a warrant. The CEO of Dainik Jagran has been asked to submit a compliance report by Monday evening.
According to “public feedback” published in the newspaper, the Bharatiya Janata Party is projected to win most of the 73 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh that had polls on February 11. The Bahujan Samaj Party came in second according to the so-called feedback, while the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance was third.
The SP-Congress alliance and the BSP are also expected to file complaints with the Election Commission and seek action against Dainik Jagran and the firm that carried out the survey, The Hindu reported.
The Hindi daily appears to have taken the article off its website now.