The Anil Ambani Group (ADAG) and controversy are never far apart. The ADAG owned news agency Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) has on Monday illegally published an Election Survey, committing a big violation of the Model Code of Conduct imposed by the Election Commission of India. According to the state-wise survey uploaded by the news agency, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is expected to get 234 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It predicts the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to get 169 and others, 140.
Others include 48 seats to the Samajwadi Party (SP)–Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP)–Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) combine of Uttar Pradesh and 31 seats to the Trinamul Congress. With one more phase of elections to go on May 19th, the IANS has dared the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct. The Twitter handle of IANS uploaded this illegal survey on May 13 at 9:23 am. Though many pointed out that this is a blatant violation, the small time news agency owned by Anil Ambani has not yet deleted this Tweet till this post went online (12:45 AM, May 14th, 2019). But sometime after our post appeared, IANS deleted their tweet.
A survey of voters undertaken by institutions and calculations by independent psephologists have indicated a surprising unanimity of possible scenarios post-May 23 when the results of the #LokSabhaelections are declared.#Dangal2019 pic.twitter.com/FRdO2gjxun
— IANS Tweets (@ians_india) May 13, 2019
Noted lawyer Ishkaran Bhandari pointed out that the news agency’s action was in violation of the law.
IANS news agency was established in 1994 and has been under the control of the ADAG for the past 15 years. This small time agency is caught for many pro-Anil Ambani stories during Rafale controversies and was also caught for many fake stories. This news agency is owned by a firm known as IANS India Private Limited. At present the firm has two Directors – the first Director Rahul Sarin is also a Director of Anil Ambani’s Reliance General Insurance Company Limited. The second Director is journalist Sandeep Bamzai, who looks after the Editorial activities of the news agency. Sandeep Bamzai is known for his proximity with Anil Ambani and recently started heading the IANS, after leaving Deccan Chronicle Group and India Today.
Many opined that this fake survey was already being circulated in WhatsApp Groups by Congress for the past three weeks. The act of IANS, claiming that it was done by an unknown “Independent Psephologist”, beggars belief. For the past 30 years, India is witness to several fake Psephologists like NDTV’s Prannoy Roy and Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj Abhiyan, whose predictions go wrong more often than not. Why is IANS withholding the name of the Psephologist, if they really conducted a survey? Or is it someone from ADAG’s Dirty Tricks Department playing games?
As of now (12:45 AM, May 14th, 2019), the Election Commission of India has not taken action against this totally illegal activity by the Anil Ambani owned news agency, though many have alerted the Commission. Was this illegal publication a clever ploy by the tainted Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group to butter Congress, to soften its attack on Rafale related controversy?