Lucknow, Jan 24: Uttar Pradesh, the biggest and electorally the most important state in India goes to poll in the upcoming month. As the battle for UP CM’s chair heats up, Samajwadi party has made an unusual demand to say the least.
The Samajwadi Party has urged the Election Commission to stop the opinion polls being aired on some news channels with immediate effect.
In a letter to the chief election commissioner, the party claimed that airing of the polls is a violation of model code of conduct and they can misguide the voters and influence the election.
In a statement issued on 23 January, 2022, SP's chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said, "SP's UP unit chief Naresh Uttam Patel has written a letter to the chief election commissioner stating that the voting for the final phase of the seven-phase UP election will be held on March 7, while counting of votes will be held on March 10.
However, some news channels are showing opinion polls, which violates the model code of poll conduct, misguides the voters and also influences the poll," he said.
Patel demanded that for free, fair and impartial polls, opinion polls being aired on some news channels should be stopped with immediate effect, the statement said.
Reacting to the plea, Uttar Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party's spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi termed it as desperation on the part of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who he claimed was staring at a possible electoral defeat.
Sometimes he (Yadav) raises questions on the impartiality of the Election Commission, and sometimes he cries stating his weakness vis-a-vis the campaigning through the digital medium. Now, he is demanding that the surveys should be stopped, Tripathi said.
The reality is that he is feeling disturbed by the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath," he added.
Tripathi said banning of opinion polls would not save the SP from an electoral defeat. After the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, many political parties opposing the BJP demanded that opinion polls should be banned. However, that banning did not give these parties the intended result for those elections. It would be interesting to see the ECI’s response to this demand.