Saturday, March 1, 2014


A sting operation by news and current affairs channel News Express has revealed that leading eleven opinion poll agencies of the country are compromised. In a shocking betrayal of public sentiment, representatives of leading opinion poll agencies have claimed on hidden camera that opinion poll results are tweaked at the instance of political parties. They are even used to create a wave where none exists- all for money.
“3 per cent margin of error changed to 5 per cent”
“10 seats increased to 18 seats”
“Have been doing this for many years now”
“Manipulation done at the behest of political parties”
“Same data presented to different political parties posing as two companies”
NEW DELHI, 25 Feb, 2014: Public opinion gathered by leading opinion poll agencies is often tweaked to give misleading results, Operation Prime Minister, a sting operation by a private news network, News Express, has revealed. Well-known faces from leading opinion poll agencies have been caught on hidden camera agreeing to such malpractices. Operation Prime Minister shows how opinion polls are conducted and manipulated at the instance of political parties, their results traded to show a particular party in a favourable position, for a price.
Presenting snippets from the sting operation at a press conference, Editor-in-chief of News Express, Vinod Kapri said, “Our motivation behind conducting the sting operation was a letter written by the Election Commission of India to all regional and national parties inviting their views on the publication of opinion polls. We wanted to investigate the concerns of the Commission.” In its letter dated 4 Oct, 2013, the Election Commission had said, “The Commission has been suggesting to the government that there should be a similar prohibition or restriction on opinion polls also as there could be several manipulated opinion polls which could impact the voting pattern.”
Another motivation behind the sting operation was the mushrooming of opinion polls. “There used to be one or two opinion polls every election. But now, one sees an opinion poll almost every week. Which leads us to the question- how is the data generated so quickly and processed,” said Kapri.
Operation Prime Minister has exposed eleven opinion poll agencies, whose surveys are published in leading newspapers and magazines besides being broadcast by leading news channels. It demonstrates how the 810 million voters of our country are duped into believing trends or waves that are manipulated. Opinion polls seem to have become the latest weapon in the poll campaign. For a price, the prediction of seats tally can be changed to suit the interests of political parties. The agencies have no qualms accepting even black money for this purpose.
The influence of opinion poll agencies goes beyond mere opinion polls. In some cases, the poll agencies have claimed they can even prop up dummy candidates in the constituencies where the rival candidate is on a strong wicket. It has also been claimed that some leading editors are hand in glove with these poll agencies.
The sting operation has been named Operation Prime Minister because the people’s vote is ultimately used to elect the Prime Minister of the country and this vote may be getting wrongly influenced by the unethical practices of the opinion poll agencies. There is a need to make these poll agencies accountable, failing which there should be a ban on the opinion polls.   
Operation Prime Minister will be broadcast on 25 Feb, 2014 at 7 pm on News Express. With the country facing general elections in a couple of months, the sting operation is an effort to make the voter aware of the reality of opinion polls today. It is an effort to empower the voter to make his own choice and not get swayed by falsehoods.
About News Express:    
News Express is India’s first high definition news channel launched on 28th July, 2011. The channel boasts state-of-the-art studios, world class newsrooms and the latest international media technologies, complemented by one of the finest teams of distinguished journalists in the country.  It has received the Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award for superior journalism in television.
News Express caters to all target audiences with national and international news. A venture of Sai Prasad Media Pvt Ltd, the channel thrives on its focused approach and relentless exposes.

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