The stakes are high. Not only for politicians but also bookmakers. Both are waiting with bated breath for the day of the confidence vote in Parliament that will decide the fate of the government at the Centre.
As political parties battle it out in Parliament, which saw the debate on the trust vote begin on Monday, for bookies it is a question of Rs 3,200 crore. “Till the voting is completed on Tuesday, the betting industry will see Rs 3,200 crore involved,” said a city bookie, requesting anonymity for fear of arrest on charges of running an illegal betting business.
With the scenario changing rapidly from when the Samajwadi Party rushed in to pledge support for the government after the Left parties withdrew backing, bookies remained tense.
On July 10, when the bookies first declared the rates, they were confident the government would comfortably survive with 284 votes. On Monday they were on edge, for new developments showed it might not be as easy as that.
The new rates floated by the bookies across the country predicted the United Progressive Alliance-led government would make it by a margin of just a vote or two. The bookies now believe the government will not get more than 273 votes. The magical simple majority figure is 272.
“There could still be some defections from both the sides,” the bookie said.
The rate for the government receiving 272 votes is now 39 paise for a rupee bet on such an eventuality. A winning punter will not only get his rupee back but also 39 paise in addition if exactly 272 members of Parliament show faith in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s council of ministers.
The rate for the government falling is Rs 2.25 for every rupee bet. On July 10, it was Rs 3.5.