New Delhi: The Election Commission on Friday faced an embarrassment as it did a flip-flop on the issue of exit polls.
Soon after election commissioner H S Brahma said the exit polls cannot be telecast before May 16 — the poll result day — a clarification was issued by the poll panel stating that prohibition will be in place only till the end of the last phase of polling on May 12.
“Exit poll is prohibited till half an hour after closing of the poll on May 12 (the last day of the nine-phased polling),” the EC stated in a clarification soon after Mr Brahma’s comments.
“In a multi-phased election, the ban begins on the hour the poll is fixed and ends half an hour after the poll ends in the last phase,” said Dhirendra Ojha, director of the Election Commission.
Talking to reporters Mr Brahma had earlier said, “You are not supposed to conduct exit polls before May 16 — the counting day. We will not allow you to open your mouth before 16th evening. On the evening of 16th you can telecast the exit polls. Exit poll is only after counting. What is the hurry? Hardly, there are 150 hours between May 12 and May 16,” he had said.
Asked why the exit polls cannot be telecast before May 16, Mr Brahma argued that there could be re-poll in several places. “What is the guarantee that you will have no re-polling or countermanding of polls on 13th or 14th,” he said.
Sources in the EC later attributed the entire episode to a “slip of tongue” on part of Mr Brahma regarding to the date....