Gujarat CM Narendra Modi’s third consecutive win seems imminent but top bureaucrats remain skeptical of the sweeping victory that various opinion polls have predicted for the saffron leader. Bookies, who had stopped taking bets after the voter turnout touched an unexpected high of 71%, are keeping their fingers crossed.
A state home official said the exit poll figures were “highly inflated and off the mark and don’t reflect the ground reality. In our assessment, the government is returning with around 105 seats”.
An energy department official expressed a similar view: “The feedback from several districts is not favourable for the ruling party, which reached saturation point in the 2007 polls.”
The 10% rise in voter turnout has created much confusion about the final outcome. An official said surveys by the state intelligence department suggest an upswing in voting across communities, age groups and regions, making it impossible to guess which way new voters have gone.
A Rajkot-based bookie said the satta bazaar was not offering new rates based on exit poll predictions. “There isn’t much happening. Whatever bets we are taking are at the old rates that applied to BJP,” he said.
The betting market linked to the Gujarat polls is estimated to be worth around Rs.5,000 crore. Till last week, bookies had been taking bets for a BJP victory at 35 paise to a rupee.