New Delhi, Nov 4 IANS | 12 months ago

Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP prime minister candidate Narendra Modi said Monday on his blog that the Congress stance on restricting opinion polls in the run-up to elections was "puerile".


He said the people should reject the Congress not only in such surveys, but in the elections as well.

"If you ask me, the solution is much simpler. Rather than cope with these authoritarian and subversive tactics of the Congress, it is better we reject the anti-democratic Congress, not merely in opinion polls but in the polling booths too, where it matters the most," Modi said in a blog post.

The Congress had written to the Election Commission last week saying that the random surveys "lack credibility" and could be "manipulated and manoeuvred" by people with "vested interests".

"Those who have followed Indian politics and the workings of the Congress party after Independence would agree that the stand of the Congress party does not come as a surprise. The biggest casualty of the Congress party's arrogance while in power and its tendency to trample over institutions has been our fundamental right to free speech," Modi said in a hard hitting attack.

Modi said opinion polls in India have a mixed record, and political parties could use them in whichever way they sought.

"If the poll is favourable, we are free to become complacent, or we can continue our work on the ground without becoming over-confident," he said.

If they are not favourable to us, we are free to reject the numbers and remain in denial or we can choose to take corrective action where merited," he said.

"To resort to extreme steps simply because the opinion polls do not tell us what we may want to hear is utterly puerile," he said.

"My concern is not limited to this proposal to ban opinion polls. Tomorrow, the Congress may seek a ban on articles, editorials and blogs during election time on the very same grounds. If they lose an election, they may then seek a ban on the Election Commission and if the courts do not support them, then they may say why not ban the courts! After all, this is the party that resorted to imposing the Emergency in response to an inconvenient court verdict," Modi said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader said he did not have any particular affinity for opinion polls.

"In fact, I am quite aware of their limitations. Our enlightened pollsters made assertions about how Gujarat will vote against the BJP in 2002, then again in 2007 and even in 2012 with such great confidence only to be proven incorrect by the people," he said.

(Posted on 05-11-2013)