Farmers’ leaders, activists debunk exit polls; media cut off from ground realities, says Hannan Mollah
Hannan Mollah, one of those who led farmers’ protest against farm laws, later withdrawn by PM, said that television media has lost its credibility, as past exit polls had turned out to be inaccurate
A day after almost all exit polls conducted by various agencies predicted a victory for the incumbent BJP in UP assembly polls, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) leader Hannan Mollah debunked the same as “unrealistic and illogical”.
Mollah, one of those who led a year-long farmers’ protest against the farm laws, later withdrawn by the PM, said that television media has lost its credibility, as past exit polls had turned out to be inaccurate.
“The media has put its credibility at stake by showing pro-BJP exit polls,” he said.
“No one believes them. Take farmers' protests for example. TV media first boycotted farmers' protest, then branded it as anti-national… they had to show after PM had withdrawn the laws,” said Mollah, adding, “How can the impact of one of the longest protests in India’s history be not reflected on the polls’ outcome?”
All the farmers’ unions including AIKS – under the banner of SKM, an umbrella body of 40 farmers’ unions –campaigned against the BJP in all five states that went to the polls, with a special focus on Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
SKM emphatically asked people to punish the BJP which they believe is responsible for the death of over 700 farmers while the protests were underway.
As per data issued by SKM, about 740 farmers have lost their lives during the one-year long protest due to various reasons.
When asked whether the farmers' protests had failed to mobilize farmers as an anti-BJP force, Mollah said, “Only history can tell the truth. An unbiased study is required to gauge the impact of the protest on society.”
“As far as TV media is concerned, they are completely cut off from the ground realities,” he said.
Despite being at the receiving end of the farmers’ protests, unplanned COVID lockdown and mismanagement of the second COVID wave, most exit polls said that the BJP will form the government in UP
As per the exit polls, BJP is likely to win between 225 and 325 seats out of the total 403 in UP.
“If exit polls come true…It will not be less than a miracle,” said a UP watcher.
Senior journalist-cum-farm activist K P Malik, who belongs to the Jat community, quipped, “TV media namak ka karj chuka rahi hai.”
Malik, who covered the farmers’ protests as well as the UP polls extensively, alleged that most of the agencies were offered money by the ruling party.
“Who knows the tally was prepared at the behest of the BJP…Will anyone hold these agencies accountable if and in case their predictions prove wrong?” asked Malik.
He said the Election Commission should ban the exit polls. “These surveys are done with an aim to misguide the people. EC should take steps to ban them.”
Expressing her shock at predictions shown by the exit polls, Amrit Gill, spokesperson of Punjab unit of the Congress said that the predictions shown by the television media will fall flat.
“Whether it is Punjab or UP, exit polls will prove wrong,” she said.
Talking to NH, Gill said, “People want to throw BJP out of power everywhere. Exit Polls predicted AAP’s victory in the Punjab polls but I believe this is not the reality.”
“AAP does not represent Paujabiyat. Where was the AAP when Congress activists and government supported farmers’ protest?” she said. An average of 10 exit polls predicted a comfortable win for AAP in its first Punjab.
The exit polls gave AAP 63 seats in 117-seat Punjab, with the majority mark at 59. If this happens, AAP will take power in the first full state; Delhi, where it has been in power since 2015, is partly under the Centre.
The ruling Congress has been predicted to finish second with 28 seats in the assembly, as per the exit polls.
“Where was Kejriwal when Rahul Gandhi constantly spoke in favor of farmers and opposed the farm laws in and out of parliament? People have seen all this, and they have voted accordingly,” added Gill.
Gill said the farm protest was the turning point in the polity of Punjab.
“Results will reflect the will and struggle of the people of Punjab, '' she emphasized.