Bookies and punters see Prime Minister Manmohan Singh retaining power as the curtain rang down on the five-phased Indian elections and reports of exit polls started coming out Wednesday evening.
So far, an estimated Rs 12,000 crore (Rs 120 billion) is at stake on various permutations and combinations that the punters are playing with, according to a prominent Mumbai bookie.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh remains the hot favourite for the top job once again commanding a price of Rs 1.15 against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial aspirant LK Advani at Rs 2.00 -- higher the odd, the less likely is the outcome in bookies' perception.
At the end of the fourth phase last week, Manmohan Singh commanded Rs 1.50 while Advani stood at Rs 2.35.
Manmohan Singh has constantly maintained his high lead over all other contenders since the first phase of elections got underway in April 16, revealed the bookie who did not want to be named.
Among other contenders, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee of the Congress now commands Rs 4.75, up from Rs 6.00 last week.
The Congress ally and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, another prime ministerial aspirant, commands Rs 6.75, down from Rs 6.50 last week.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has improved her chances - quoting a price of Rs 17 on Wednesday, as compared to Rs 25 last week.
As far as the two main political groups vying for power are concerned, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) commands 86 paise, down from 78 paise last week, while the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has slightly improved its chances - Rs 1.25 compared to Rs 1.45 last week.
As far as the bookies are concerned, the Third Front led by the Left parties has a long way to go, standing currently at Rs 13.00.
In Mumbai where nearly Rs 900 crore (Rs 9 billion) has been bet so far, the bookies predict a fall in the Congress tally and gains for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance.
While the Congress is expected to get three seats, compared to the five now, the BJP could get two, up from nil, and the Sena may retain its existing one seat. However, the constituency which Sena may bag could change this time, the bookie said.
The bookies also predict an equal tally - 24 - for the Congress-NCP combine and the BJP-Sena alliance in Maharashtra, which has total 48 Lok Sabha seats.