If the betting market is any indicator, BJP is all set to emerge as the single largest party in Maharashtra and lead by a thin margin of seats in Haryana – but it will need the support of smaller outfits to form the government in both states.
Punters in Haryana are expecting a split verdict with the BJP leading, even as Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) is narrowly behind. Bookies at Hansi’s Chopta Bazaar, which is the centre of outlawed gaming and betting activity, on Tuesday predicted 35-37 seats for the BJP and 31-33 for INLD. The Congress, as per the satta market, is placed at 14-15 seats while Kuldeep Bishnoi’s Haryana Janhit Congress and allies are getting 3-5.
The bets were similar in the Bhiwani market, where sources said BJP was expected to get 35 to 38 seats in the house of 90, while INLD was expected to get 30-31 . The incumbent Congress is expected to dip to 15-16, while bets are on HJC-led alliance getting 3-4 seats.
In Maharashtra, sources among bookies said that BJP could get 115 to 125 seats in a house of 288 legislators. “There is also likelihood of split in some parties that would help BJP post polls,” a bookie said.
Bookies believe Shiv Sena would be the number two with 50 to 60 seats.
Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are expected to win 35-45 seats each while bookies predict 12-15 for Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Others, including some smaller parties and independents, would get around 15 seats.
Bookies attribute this possible success of the BJP to PM Narendra Modi’s rallies and a publicity blitzkrieg, and predict 50-55% voting turnout in the state.
This is the first time since betting started on elections that bookies refrained from opening rates at a national level. This happened following pressure from some key politicians after breaking of two major alliances in Maharashtra. These politicians asked bookies to either manipulate rates showing results in their favour or avoid opening the rates.