The BJP is all set to emerge as the single-largest party by a wide margin in Maharashtra and lead other parties by a small number of seats in Haryana, say bookies on the eve of polls in the two states.
The saffron party, however, will need the support of smaller outfits to form the government in both states, according to bookmakers.
In Maharashtra, sources among bookies said the BJP could get between 115 and 125 seats in a house of 288 legislators.
“There is also the likelihood of a split in some parties that would help BJP after the polls,” a city bookie said.
Bookmakers believe the Shiv Sena would emerge runners-up in the state with 50-60 seats. The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are expected to win around 35 to 45 seats each while the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) may bag around 12 to 15 seats, bookies predict.
Others including smaller parties and independents would get around 15 seats.
Bookmakers attribute the BJP’s possible success to PM Narendra Modi’s rallies and a publicity blitzkrieg, and predict a voter turnout of 50-55%.
The stakes are high in both states for the BJP, which fared poorly in last month’s bypolls. The party lost a clutch of seats to the Congress and regional parties, merely four months after its emphatic win in the Lok Sabha elections.
Punters in Haryana are expecting a split verdict in the 90-member assembly, with the BJP narrowly leading Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).
Bookies at Hansi’s Chopta Bazaar — the nerve centre of outlawed gaming activity -- predicted on Tuesday 35-37 seats for the BJP and 31-33 for the INLD. The Congress is a distant third with 14-15 seats while Kuldeep Bishnoi’s Haryana Janhit Congress is expected to bag 3-5 seats.
The bets were similar at Bhiwani market, where sources said the BJP was expected to get between 35 and 38 seats, while the INLD was expected to get 30-31 seats. The incumbent Congress is expected to dip to 15-16 seats while bets are on HJC-led alliance getting 3-4 seats.
This is the first time since betting started on elections that bookies in Maharashtra refrained from opening rates at a national level.
This happened after key politicians in the state pressured bookies to either manipulate rates to show results in their favour or avoid opening the rates. Punters had expected betting to the tune of around `20,000 crore on the Maharashtra elections.