The pollsters may be more or less unanimous in predicting a thumping victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP, but Hapur's "satta bazaar" is betting on a much closer fight. Punters do see Modi returning to power but not a wave as such in his favour.
The "Modi magic" cannot be felt the way it was in 2014, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to finish with far less number of seats than the 2014 tally of 283, predict punters.
"We are expecting the BJP to win 240 seats. At best, the tally may touch 245 but not more than that," said one of the operators in the satta market.
Multiple people in the trade told IANS that although the Modi government will still be there, it would have dependence on its alliace partners, unlike the previous term.
According to them, the BJP is likely to lose almost half of its previous tally in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh where the bookies see 41 seats for the saffron party, down from 71 last time.
In other words, the party would lose substantial support base in the state which is considered crucial for forming government at the Centre.
"In UP, the BJP will win 41 to 45 seats," said a bookie in the city's once-famous betting hub Mandi Patia where speculators ruled the roost until a few years ago.
Incidentally, Hapur bookies have mostly been accurate in their estimates, outsmarting their counterparts in bigger cities.
The projections here are based on the analysis of over 300 seats where polling has already been held.
A weaker grip of Modi on the government would mean the saffron party's Hindu agenda taking a back seat, as some of its alles like Janata Dal-United (JD-U) would prefer to disassociate from the agenda. The poll promise of abrogating Article 35A could also lie dormant.
Such scenario would also impact major policy decisions of the government, for building consensus on economic issues, especially reforms, could become an uphill task.
"Given Modi's personality, it is difficult to even visualise how he would act in that situation. Among the BJP allies, the most powerful are Shiv Sena and JD-U, and they will definitely make his life difficult," a political analyst said.
(Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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