As polling for the Lok Sabha elections nears conclusion, punters have started offering bets on what they are calling ‘the worst-case’ political scenario: a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the helm and regional political parties playing a significant role in New Delhi.
President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajnath Singh attends an election rally at Kalyan in Mumbai.(PTI photo)
While this scenario has the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the AIADMK as important allies, the BJP is still the bookies’ favourite to wrest power at the Centre — but projects a different Prime Minister: the BJP’s president, Rajnath Singh.
However, in totality, the number of seats that the BJP will be able to muster nationally, according to punters, has gone up from previous projections of around 200 and 225 seats to 244 and 246.
The Congress is now supposed to get only around 70 seats as opposed to the previous projection of 72 and the Aam Aadmi Party’s is still supposed to get just 3 to 4 — the same as previous estimates.
“These new rates presuppose a scenario where Narendra Modi somehow loses both Vadodara and Varanasi — or at least one of these — in addition to losing substantially down south and in the east,” a bookie told Hindustan Times.
“In this case, given the fact that Modi as PM would be unacceptable to the leaders of the TMC, the LJP and the AIADMK, the BJP will be forced to put up another candidate for the post of PM. This will be Rajnath Singh,” the bookie added.
According to these new rates, every Re 1 bet on BJP’s Rajnath Singh for can fetch returns of Rs. 2.50, which makes him most likely to become PM in case Modi fails, a Re 1 bet on the TMC’s Mamata Banerjee can earn Rs. 6 in this sceneario, the AIADMK’s Jayalalitha can fetch Rs. 12 on a Re 1 bet and a bet of Re 1 on the Lok Janshakti Party’s Ram Vilas Paswan can earn Rs. 18.
Rahul Gandhi of the Indian National Congress is the second least-likely candidate to become PM with the odds of Rs. 20 on a Re 1 bet and the AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal remains the least likely to become PM with a Re 1 bet on him offering a return of Rs. 650.
Believe it or not, punters, according to these new national rates, have also assigned specific ministries to regional satraps in this worst-case coalition government.
The TMC’s Mamata Banerjee is supposed to be given the Union railway ministry, the AIADMK’s Jayalalitha is supposed to be handed the Union information technology portfolio and the LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan will be made in-charge of the Union steel ministry.