Satta bazaar also roots for a Modi comeback
Saffron remains the safest bet. With less than a week to go for counting day, the odds are pretty well stacked up against the Congress in major betting centres across the nation. In Mumbai, the satta bazaar (betting market) gives 238-241 seats to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a punt ditto in Delhi in the 17th Lok Sabha. The betting market predicts 78-81 seats for the Congress in India's financial capital while 79-81 seats in the Capital.
Bookies are bullish on the BJP in Rajasthan and Gujarat too, giving 242-245 and 242-244 seats to the saffron party, respectively. According to punters, 75-80 seats have been projected for the Congress in the desert state while Gujarat's prediction is slightly above at 80-82 seats.
The BJP is ahead in the gambling game in Madhya Pradesh's capital Bhopal too. The city has forecast 246-248 seats for the BJP and 80-82 seats for Congress. Some punters, on the condition of anonymity, revealed that it's complex to accept bets on the NDA or the UPA so they prefer individual party performance.
No authoritative estimates are available, but the election betting market is believed to run into hundreds of crores. It has grown exponentially over the years as reports suggest that the size of the election betting market is almost double than in 2014. The Indian Premier League (IPL) tops the lists among betting agencies. Though bets are placed mostly over the phone, mobile applications and websites are also catching up.
Betting or gambling is illegal in most parts of India, but there is no guideline for online betting. The Public Gambling Act, 1867 is a central law that prohibits all kinds of gambling in India. Various states such as Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Bihar adopted the Act but certain states have enacted their own gambling laws.
The most popular bets this election include those on Narendra Modi becoming the PM, Rahul Gandhi winning Amethi and the performance of the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
The betting market's victory forecast for the BJP is based on the lower bets received on the party. In the betting market, a low bet indicates a win. With unprecedented interest in the Lok Sabha results, this time around 10-15 thousand crores of rupees have been pumped into the market.
According to a bookie who spoke to India Today on the condition of anonymity, the market is predicting 238-241 seats for the BJP alone and the Congress may be restricted to 78-81 seats.
The market has also predicted that Narendra Modi is likely to be the PM again. The rate on Modi is 1:12, which means if one bets Rs 1 lakh on Modi as PM, he will get Rs 1,12,000 if he wins. Surprisingly, there are no bets on Rahul Gandhi for the PM's post. But as per the betting market, Rahul is a favourite in Amethi seat. While Rahul's rate in the market in 35 paise (1:35), bet on Smriti Irani is at 40 paise (1:40). Sonia Gandhi is also predicted to win from Raebareli.
Punters said the BJP is likely to get 72 seats in UP, 32 in Maharashtra, 22 in Gujarat, 12 in Bihar and 12 seats in West Bengal.
In Maharashtra, state Congress president and former CM Ashok Chavan is a favourite from Nanded seat with a rate of 25 paise (1:25). BJP candidate Gopal Shetty, who is pitched against Bollywood actor Urmila Matondkar, is also pitched by the bookies for an easy win with a rate of 8 paise (1:08).
The betting market in the Capital says the BJP may not get a full majority on its own, but it will get between 238 and 241seats. A flat rate has been fixed by bookies for both the BJP and the Congress. The rate can change if there is betting on some particular candidate. The betting market is giving the Congress 79 to 81 seats.
If we go by the betting market, the BJP may win almost all the seven seats. The highest betting is on in four constituencies. In North East Delhi, the betting is put on incumbent Manoj Tiwari's victory. The rate is 40 paise for Tiwari's defeat and 50 paise for his win.
From New Delhi, Meenakshi Lekhi is contesting the election. The rate of the betting market is 24 paise on the BJP sweeping the seat and 32 paise if the incumbent MP loses.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, the current MP, is fighting from Chandni Chowk. The rate here is 15 paise on the BJP's loss and 20 paise on the win. In East Delhi, Gautam Gambhir has been fielded by the BJP and the rate is 35 paise for the win and 45 paise on loss.
Sources said more than Rs 100 crore is placed on betting for the Lok Sabha 2019 polls.
Punters said in Maharashtra, the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition is likely to get 32 to 34 seats, 19 to 21 seats in Rajasthan, 12 to 14 seats in Bihar, while in Punjab, the Congress can have an upperhand bagging 8-9 seats.
The BJP seems to have a clear edge as far as the satta market in the state is concerned. The UPA, of which the Congress is a part, has been given 132-135 seats while the NDA is projected to gain 300 plus seats.
The BJP in the state, as per the betting market, is poised to get 18 seats whereas the Congress can get 7 seats. Narendra Modi leads on the choice of the next prime minister, according to bookies. The rate on him becoming the next PM is 12-13 paise while for Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the rate is Rs 20-25.
"What will happen in the country, how many seats will the BJP and Congress get, how will the BJP fare, what will happen in Uttar Pradesh, what will be the result in Rajasthan are some of the issues on which people play satta," a bookie mentioned.
Rs 2,000 crore has been invested in the satta market, including the Bikaner division which witnesses the participation of bookies from Bikaner, Phalodi, Mumbai.
The satta market in Gujarat, especially in Mehsana and Unja, is betting high for the NDA forming the government in 2019. As per the betting market in Gujarat, the BJP will win 243 seats with NDA 300 seats. The Congress is expected to get 80 to 82 seats. Five cities of Gujarat -- Unja, Mehsana, Ahmedabad, Surat and Rajkot - witnessed heavy betting business as always.
The satta bazaar in Gujarat has predicted a Modi comeback. The price for Modi to become PM is 7 paise and for Rahul Gandhi, it is Rs 5.
As per bookies of Gujarat, in 2014, the Gujarat BJP got 26 out of 26 seats but this time, the party will get 22 to 23 seats in the state.