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Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, December 15, 2012
All bets are off in Gujarat. The record 71% voter turnout in the first phase has not only baffled parties and candidates, it’s messed up the calculations of bookies, who have stopped accepting bets on the election outcome.


The perception till just a few days ago was certain victory for the BJP. But the bookies are no longer sure, and ready to fold.

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“It has become risky with such a huge surge in voting without any visible pro or anti-government wave. The betting market had factored in 62% voting, as has been the trend in Gujarat. But it crossed 70% Thursday,” a source in the betting market said.

Another factor that’s made the bookies skittish is that reports of the state and central Intelligence Bureaus haven’t been forthcoming with any clear trend. “Narendra Modi, no doubt, is the favourite. But then, the BJP has repeated most of its sitting MLAs, who are facing anti-incumbency,” the source added.

The betting market expected a turnover of Rs. 5,000 crore from the polls. The BJP was the bookies’ favourite, expected to win 110 of the 182 seats.

That’s no longer the case. For now, all they can do is wait for December 20 — counting day.