Debating India

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Exit polls an electoral intervention, says CPI (M)

Thursday 22 April 2004

NEW DELHI, APRIL 21. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) today said the results of the exit polls announced at the end of the first phase of polling was "hugely contradictory" and termed it as an "electoral intervention."

By Our Special Correspondent

Questioning the scientific basis of a number of such polls, the party said these results could be used to influence some sections of the people.

Stating that the exit polls should be treated in a different category, the CPI (M) Politburo member, Prakash Karat, reiterated the party stand that its results should not be made public till the end of the last phase of polls.

The party maintained that the Election Commission was empowered under the Constitution to regulate such polls, notwithstanding the Commission’s stand that it required a new legislation.

It said the Bharatiya Janata Party’s appeal seeking a mandate for itself was to implement its agenda and the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s remarks "reflected the party’s intent."

Mr. Vajpayee’s statement on the rigours of running a coalition showed that the BJP was not concerned about its allies.

"They are forced to have a coalition but would prefer not to have ... what he (Mr. Vajpayee) said was in the heart of the BJP," Mr. Karat said.

The party said that over the last six years, the BJP had succeeding in marginalising the partners in the coalition and the NDA agenda gave evidence of it with the inclusion of Ram temple and cow slaughter issues in the document.

Expressing concern over the violence that marked the first phase of polling in Jammu and Kashmir, the CPI (M) urged the Election Commission and the State administration to take steps to protect the candidates and the leaders who were campaigning.

Briefing mediapersons, Mr. Karat said there were widespread attacks against all parties during the first phase and CPI (M) workers too suffered injuries.

"There is no scope for complacency," he added.

P.S.

in The Hindu, Thursday, April 22, 2004.

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