The deadline, set by the Election Commission prohibiting media organisations from publishing exit polls for the assembly elections held in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Punjab and Uttarakhand, is coming to an end at 5: 30 pm on March 9. Earlier on January 29, the EC had prohibited media organisations from releasing exit polls between February 4 and March 8 in the election-bound states citing provisions of section 126 A of Representations of the Peoples’ Act, 1951.

“Exit polls cannot be conducted and publicised by means of print and electronic media or dissemination in any other manner starting from February 4, 2017, at 7 AM to March 8, 2017, at 5.30 PM,” a spokesman of the EC said.

The State Chief Electoral Officer T Venkatesh has also directed on March 6 that any media group or organisation publishes or broadcasts the exit polls before the announced deadline then this action will be treated as a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and a strict action will be taken against that organisation.

Meanwhile, on February 6 the EC had extended the ban on exit polls for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections till 5.30pm on March 9 following the death of the Samajwadi Party candidate for the Alapur seat. The earlier deadline of the exit polls was 30 minutes after the conclusion of the staggered seven-phase polls on March 8.

The polling started on February 4 with Punjab and Goa followed by the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh which held On February 11. Rest six phases took place on February 15, February 19, February 23, February 27, March 4 and March 8 respectively. In Manipur, the polling took place in two phases where the first phase held on March 4 and the second phase held on March 8. Polling in Uttarakhand took place on February 15.