Election Commission bans exit polls in poll-bound states

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Thursday banned exit polls between April 4 and May 16 during which polling will be held for assemblies of Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

“Exit polls cannot be conducted and publicised by means of print and electronic media or dissemination in any other manner starting from April 4 at 7 a.m. to May 16 at 6.30 p.m,” said an Election Commission release said.

Assam (126 seats) will vote on April 4 and 11, and West Bengal (294 seats) on April 4, 11, 17, 21, 25 and 30 and May 5. Kerala (140 seats), Tamil Nadu (234 seats) and Puducherry (30 seats) will go to the polls on May 16. Counting of votes in all five states will take place on May 19.

Noting that polling hours in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will be from 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., it, citing relevant provisions of the Representation of People Act, said that “displaying any election matter including results of any opinion poll or any other poll survey in any electronic media would be prohibited during 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in each of the phases”.