Betting rates determined by bookies favour an NDA government after Mandate 2014. But a word of caution; the betting syndicate has not always been right in the last 10 years.
Bookies successfully predicted UPA would form the government in 2009 with help from Third Front but their forecast about NDA retaining power in 2004 had gone awry.
The downside in their 2009 prediction was giving 220-230 seats to UPA (it got 262) and 190-200 to NDA (final tally 159).
The betting mafia had miscalculated in 2004 too. It gave 290-310 seats to NDA, which won only 181, and BJP won only 138 of the 190-205 seats it had predicted.
The Congress, on the other hand, got 145 seats compared to 95-105 the bookies had given.
Since they expected NDA to continue in 2004, bookies placed bets on Atal Bihari Vajpayee as prime minister with a rate of 32 paise per rupee wagered. LK Advani and Sonia Gandhi followed with `9 and `20 respectively.
In the world of betting, the rate for the favourite is the lowest. Bookies, though, take the ‘misfiring’ in their stride. “Just as the last ball can change the result in a cricket match, last-minute swing in the public mood can provide unexpected results in elections. One has to understand this is gambling and risky,” a bookie said.
Unexpected results in 2004 were embarrassing as well as disastrous for many punters who placed huge money on NDA.
“I placed `2 crore on NDA since the rates pointed to its victory. I ended up selling one of my properties to recover from the loss,” a South Mumbai resident said.
Money is also lost when developments come out of the blue, such as Sonia Gandhi stepping aside for Manmohan Singh to become prime minister in 2004. Gandhi’s rate was just 5 paise to the rupee.
What makes the bookies favour NDA this time? “The Narendra Modi wave that gives BJP a greater chance, but one cannot be sure of how the public will react on D-Day,” a bookie said.
He added there is an element of certainty this time as people are agitated over massive corruption and price rice.
“Most voters want a change, and if BJP manages to get 210-215 seats and NDA 235-240, others will come to them to form government,” he said.
This is precisely the reason why the punters have made separate slabs for betting on NDA.
The rates are a throwback to the 2004 polls when the odds on NDA winning 290, 300 and 310 seats were 16 paise, 26 paise and 55 paise to the rupee.