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Bookies ready for big election bets

As things presently stand, the bookies predict that the Congress on its own, will get between 140 to 160 seats in the coming Lok Sabha elections; the BJP between 120 and 140 in a house of 543.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2009 23:57 IST
Manish Pachouly

Political pundits may be scratching their heads, but the bookies are quite sure.

As things presently stand, the bookies predict that the Congress on its own, will get between 140 to 160 seats in the coming Lok Sabha elections; the BJP between 120 and 140 in a house of 543.

Of course the odds may change as the election campaign progresses.

But, with the first phase of polling barely a month away, bookies across the country are into hectic preparations for an enterprise with a projected turnover of over Rs 10,000 crore.

The opening rates for the number of seats each party may win, for particular state results, for particular seats and so forth have still to be worked out. But the big bookies are reported to have spent around Rs 1,200 crore already on the preparations.

There are 25 eminent bookies in the country who conduct the big game betting. The biggies would enlist the services of about 100-odd smaller bookies to run the show in smaller cities.

“Eight bookies have been entrusted the task of going round the country and gauging the public mood,” said a source close to the business, which is entirely illegal.

“They are visiting most of the states personally.”

“We can open the booking only when the alliances are fully firmed up, and we know exactly who is fighting whom,” said a Mumbai bookie.

He revealed that 50 politicians from across the country are also likely to bet large amounts on the results, including 10 from Maharashtra. However, they refused to disclose the names of these politicians.

Bets are also expected from Pakistan, Dubai and some other Gulf countries, he said.