If elections are round the corner, betting can surely not be far behind in the country’s commercial capital. Bets of over Rs 100 crore have been accepted over the past one week in the satta bazaar or the illegal betting market on the elections in Maharashtra scheduled on October 13.
While the odds are in the favour of the Congress winning the highest number of seats, bookies are predicting a hung verdict.
At least 145 seats are required for a majority in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly. Bookies said that the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine will win a minimum of 107 seats, but the odds are quite high against the combine winning even 140 seats.
On the other hand, the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) together are expected by bookmakers to win a minimum of 100 seats.
The Congress is fighting in 174 assembly seats and the odds of it winning 75 seats are 23 paise on every rupee. Bookies are willing to give Rs 1.90 on every rupee if the Congress manages to corner 90 seats in the state. In the 2004 elections, the Congress fought in 164 seats and won 69, while NCP fought in 124 seats and managed to win 71.
Punters said the ruling party could have done better but for the statements by NCP supremo Sharad Pawar that the Congress is on a weak footing in Maharashtra and food prices will not fall in a hurry, which have dented the Congress’ image.
NCP, which is fighting in 114 seats, is expected to win a minimum of 35 seats and punters will get 32 paise on every rupee. The bookies will give Rs 2.25 on every rupee if NCP manages to corner 50 seats.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray is not being considered a big threat. Bookies will give 35 paise on a rupee if MNS wins six seats and Rs 4 on a rupee if the party wins 10 seats, out of the 125 it is fighting for.
The odds on the Shiv Sena winning a minimum of 50 seats are 35 paise to a rupee, whereas BJP winning 50 seats are 24 paise to a rupee. The odds are as high as Rs 3.25 on a rupee if the Sena wins 70 seats and Rs 4 on a rupee if BJP wins 70 seats. The Sena is fighting in 173 seats and BJP in 115 seats.
The bets are expected to continue till October 22, a day before the results are declared. Many punters said they won’t be surprised if the bets cross 1,000 crore in the coming days.