Swaraj Express, an online media portal, appeared to air an exit poll of elections in a gross violation of Election Commission regulations. Vinod Dua, who had allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him in the past, was anchoring the show. The video has apparently been removed from YouTube. The link of the deleted video is here.
Open Violation of EC Guidelines by a news channel @SwarajExpress and it’s anchor @VinodDua7 by showing Exit Polls on air.
Strictest action shall be taken against them @ECISVEEP pic.twitter.com/WDgnfELzek
— Chowkidar Zankrut Oza (@zankrut) May 7, 2019
It remains to be seen whether the ECI will take any action against Dua and the portal for violating their rules. As per ECI regulations, exit polls cannot be aired until voting in all the phases have been completed.
Using powers under the Representation of People Act, 1951, EC banned exit polls from the time the poll begins till half-an-hour after the polling ends since 1998. Barring a couple of parties, all other political parties wanted restrictions on such polls and the dissemination of their results.
The ECI observed while issuing its order, “Such dissemination, particularly on the eve of polls or when the polling process is still in progress, has the potential to influence the electors when they are in the mental process of making up of their minds to vote or not to vote for a certain political party or a candidate.”
From what’s visible, the Swaraj exit poll appears to give only 66 seats to the NDA after 3 phases while giving 137 to the UPA. The polls appear significantly inconsistent with the Opinion Polls that were conducted prior to the polls. Dua appears to have taken the numbers from a report published on propaganda website NewsClick that was published on April 28, 2019, based on the projection of Assembly election results.
Recently, another seat prediction was published in an article by a British journalist which violates ECI regulations. That prediction, too, suggested that Rahul Gandhi was poised to win the elections. The article itself, apart from spreading extremely dangerous ideas, came across as a paid advertisement of the Congress party rather than an objective analysis of the situation.
Vinod Dua’s own track record has been that of a habitual offender. In December last year, he maliciously edited a video to claim that Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had spoken out against the Modi government. Two months before that, when allegations of sexual harassment were levelled against him and numerous others were outed for harassing women, he had likened the allegations to Keechad (mud), insinuating that the women were engaging in mudslinging. He had also suggested that the allegations were not ‘real issues’ and should not deflect attention from the Lok Sabha Elections.