The Uttar Pradesh Police on Monday arrested Jagran.com editor Shekhar Tripathi [pictured above] for publishing an an apparent exit poll that showed the Bharatiya Janata Party as the front-runner for the first phase of the elections. State police teams also raided the homes of Jagran New Media Chief Executive Officer Sukriti Gupta, Jagran English Online Deputy Editor Varun Sharma and Digital Head Puja Sethi, The Indian Express reported.
On Monday, the Dainik Jagran had issued a clarification about publishing the exit poll, saying it was inadvertently put out on its English-language website and that it had been removed. In a statement, the newspaper said it was also in the process of filing a “detailed fact-based response” with the Election Commission regarding the survey, Hindustan Times reported.
“We clarify that we fully comply with the directions which has been issued by the Election Commission of India,” the daily said. Jagran Group Chief Executive Officer and Dainik Jagran editor Sanjay Gupta said the exit poll did not appear in the newspaper. “It was carried by the advertising department on our website. We have removed it now,” he said.
Gupta’s remarks came before the Election Commission ordered District Election Officers in 15 UP districts to file criminal cases against the editors of Jagran for the exit poll they had published. The survey, released on Saturday evening, projected the BJP as the front-runner in the elections after interviewing 5,700 voters across 38 Assembly seats. The poll placed the Bahujan Samaj Party in second place, and the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance in third.
The Commission also ordered cases to be filed against Resource Development International (I) Private Limited, the agency which conducted the survey. “It [the poll] 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,” a Commission spokesperson had said. “Reports have been sought from the the UP Chief Electoral Officer urgently.”