New Delhi: Exit poll results for Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat assembly elections cannot be made public before 14 December evening, the Election Commission said on Tuesday.

While the single-phase assembly election in Himachal Pradesh will be held on 9 November, the first phase of polls in Gujarat will take place on 9 December. The second phase will be held on 14 December. But exit polls showing outcome of the Himachal Pradesh polls cannot be shown till both the phases of Gujarat polls are completed.

A poll panel order citing election law said “conducting any exit poll and publishing or publicising by means of the print or electronic media or dissemination in any other manner, whatsoever the result of any exit poll in connection with the current general elections to the legislative assemblies of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat shall be prohibited" between 8am of 9 November to 6pm of 14 December.

It also said displaying any election matter, including results of any opinion poll or any other poll survey, in any electronic media, would be prohibited 48 hours prior to the election day.

The existing law allows the EC to ban opinion polls 48 hours prior to voting.

In a separate statement, the commission said that TV channels, radio stations and cable networks should ensure that the contents of the programmes beamed by them 48 hours before the election day “do not contain any material, including views/appeals by panellists/participants that may be construed as promoting/prejudicing the prospect of any particular party or candidate or influencing/affecting the result of the election."