No reason to indulge in speculation: Congress boycotts Lok Sabha exit polls

Exit polls, first conducted in India in 1957, have become eagerly anticipated events

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera calls the BJP "tukde tukde gang" (photo: AICC)
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera calls the BJP "tukde tukde gang" (photo: AICC)

NH Digital

The Congress announced on Friday that it would not participate in any television debates about exit poll outcomes scheduled for 1 June. The party emphasised that debates should serve to inform the public, not indulge in speculation and sensationalism. Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera stated that the party prefers to wait for the actual election results, which are set to be announced on 4 June.

In a post on X, Khera said, "Voters have cast their votes and their verdict is secured. The results will be out on 4th June. Prior to that, we do not see any reason to indulge in speculation and slugfest for TRP. The Indian National Congress will not participate in the debates on #ExitPolls. The purpose of any debate should be to inform the people. We will happily partake in debates from 4th June onwards."

Exit polls, which are based on voters' responses after casting their ballots, can be published starting at 6.30 pm on Saturday, following an embargo by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

These polls, first conducted in India in 1957, are eagerly anticipated events leading up to the official results. Polling agencies, psephologists, and media outlets prepare exit poll results, which political party spokespersons on television then debate. This year, however, Congress has chosen to abstain from these discussions. 

The accuracy of exit polls has varied throughout India's electoral history. For instance, in 2019, exit polls predicted around 285 seats for the NDA, but the coalition ultimately won 353. The 2024 exit polls will predict the outcomes of the Lok Sabha election as well as Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, and Sikkim.

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has warned his party members about exit polls, urging them to stay vigilant and not be misled by predictions. "All of you should remain fully alert, vigilant and cautious during voting tomorrow and also in the days after the voting, till the counting of votes is over and you receive the certificate of victory. Do not be misled by the BJP," Yadav wrote on X.

He further claimed that the BJP plans to manipulate media narratives to suggest a lead of around 300 seats, which he labelled as false. Yadav accused the BJP of using these tactics to cause the opposition to lower its guard during the vote counting process, potentially leading to electoral malpractices.

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