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India Today ‘Accidentally’ Leaks Exit Poll Results; Video Goes Viral On Social Media

Earlier, EC had sought a response from three other media houses that displayed exit poll results.

News channel India Today on Wednesday, May 15 revealed exit poll results on television. The exit poll numbers appeared to be an “accidental” leak on news anchor Rahul Kanwal’s show. Accidental or not, however, it is a violation of the Election Commission of India (ECI) rules. Several social media users have shared a video clip on Twitter highlighting the India Today-Axis My India exit poll results that were supposed be telecast on May 19.

In the video clip, Kanwal narrates how India Today and Axis have accumulated the exit poll data by speaking to seven lakh people in 542 constituencies across the country. Meanwhile, the camera zooms into a desktop screen in the background where the numbers for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and other parties are visible.

Many people on Twitter pointed out this “leak”:

India Today, however, later claimed that it was dummy data. The news organisation tweeted, “We understand your excitement about this clip! Sorry to disappoint you. We too are waiting anxiously for the data. This is visibly a promo with dummy data, played on Election Newstrack.”

On Wednesday, an ABP journalist posted a tweet revealing the predicted number of seats for the saffron party claiming it to be BJP’s internal survey. The Election Commission has reportedly directed Twitter to remove all the tweets related to exit polls.

As per a report on Firstpost, the Election Commission has received complaints against three media houses and sought an explanation from these media houses as to why action should not be taken against them for violating Section 126A of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

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The commission has sought response within 48 hours from the three media houses that displayed exit poll results.

As per Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, no person shall display to the public any election matter — any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election — by means of cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus. Any person who contravenes these provisions “shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine, or with both.”

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