New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today asked the Election Commission to frame a code of conduct and set up a regulatory authority to monitor opinion polls, a day after a news channel claimed that agencies conducting such surveys were willing to tweak their findings for money.
"There are standard protocols that are followed in US, UK and Europe and basic details (of the opinion polls) should be made available to the world.
"These details include ownership and track record of the agency carrying out the survey, details of the sponsor, sampling frame and sampling size," AAP leader Yogendra Yadav, a psephologist, told a press conference. (Highlights of the press conference)
The party also accused the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of influencing opinion polls and demanded a probe in the matter.
"A criminal probe should be carried out by an SIT (Special Investigation Team) which should investigate all opinion polls conducted over the past one year. Also, there are names of some political parties that have cropped up in the sting operation and even that should be investigated," AAP's national convener Arvind Kejriwal said.
A TV news channel yesterday claimed that a sting operation conducted by it had shown that some of the agencies were willing to tweak their findings for money.
The channel claimed that its sting operation had "exposed" eleven agencies which conducted opinion polls. It, however, added that some opinion poll agencies it tried to contact did not respond.
Mr Kejriwal, Delhi's ex-Chief Minister, said that opinion polls were being manufactured to influence the voters.
"There is a political conspiracy taking place in the country. It happened before the Delhi elections and it is happening now, before the Lok Sabha polls. Opinion polls first started predicting 20 seats for the BJP, followed by 27, then 30 and just before the election, it predicted that BJP would get absolute majority and bag over 40 seats," he said.
Mr Kejriwal demanded that the channels, which had tied up with the agencies that allegedly agreed to tweak the results of opinion polls, should come clean on the issue.
"Opinion polls are being manufactured and this is a conspiracy against the Indian Republic," he said.
He also demanded that the News Broadcasters Standards Authority should check the veracity of the tapes of the sting-operation conducted by the channel.
He also demanded that all media organisations must disclose the list of their shareholders, investors and lenders, their annual financial statements and make full disclosure of their political connections and business interests outside media.
"We feel that the way public servants are asked to make their annual returns and property details public and sources of income, editors of these media houses should, similarly, make property details, annual statements and sources of income public," he said.
Mr Yadav said the exact technique used to draw the sample, social profile of the achieved sample, when, where and how the interview was conducted , exact wordings and sequence of the questions asked, raw vote share reported in the survey and how they were converted into vote estimates should also be disclosed.