A Samajwadi Party worker gestures in front of a banner with the party's electoral symbol, the bicycle, during a campaign rally to be addressed by its president Mulayam Singh Yadav, ahead of state assembly elections in Allahabad. Reuters/Jitendra Prakash.
Move over ball-to-ball cricket and Sensex betters. The bookies have started getting more active as the first phase of UP assembly elections nears.
The initial ‘satta’ is set only on party tally, as the elections will take place in seven phases beginning February 8. Bets on winning candidates, chief ministerial candidates, coalition matrix and vote percentages will catch-up as the nomination process ends.
The illegal market is expecting Samajwadi Party (SP) to bag 137 seats with an upper limit of 141 seats. With anti-incumbency factor attached to the ruling BSP, the bookies are expecting it to gain anything between 118 and 122 seats.
“This is not the final tally. Going forward with the days, polling phases, political development and controversies, the tallies will keep changing the betting analysis,” tells an insider who is active amongst the betting arena.
Contrary to its 20-year-old history, the Bharatiya Janta Party according to the punters’ list stands to bag a meagre 52-56 seats. The biggest gainer, the bookies say, will be the Congress. They are betting on the party to remain third in the state with a tally of 66 and a buffer of 3 more seats.
“Punters consider the BJP a safe bet. In fact, as it gathers momentum it can even beat bookies estimate,” he adds.
Police claim they are keeping a close watch on the betting market and have some phone numbers on their radar.
“The betting is going on secretly now. We will tighten the noose when it come out in the open just before the counting day,” said a police officer on condition of anonymity.