It's not only political leaders who are flying in to Mumbai from outstations for the coming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election.
Top bookies, who are known to be experts in the opening election rates for betting, have entered the city from other states and are keeping keen eyes on the political movements.
Six bookies from Jaipur, Guwahati, Indore and Kolkata have arrived in the city on Sunday to finalise the rates for the BMC election. They are all aged above 50 years and are said to have over 20 years of experience in the opening of election rates. The bookies have keen interest in the elections as they expect a turnover of Rs 3,000 crore which is far more than last BMC election's turnover of Rs 1,700 crore.
A bookie from Malad who refused to be named said that his outstation counterparts have placed themselves in a posh hotel in Juhu. Those who have entered the Mumbai limits are known, in their trade circle, as Mukesh Jaipur, Kabra Jaipur, Maheshwari Guwahati, Sunil Guwahati, DK Indore and Babuji Kolkata.
"They all have come with their families and are staying on different names. This is to avoid any suspicion," the bookie said. In fact, he said that these outstation bookies are also not in touch with local bookies, barring a couple of them, as their whereabouts may be leaked.
He further said that the rates for the BMC election would be opened in three phases from January 2, but before that the outstation bookies would have a quick visit to Goa to celebrate the new year.
"On January 2, the first phase of the rates would be opened and it would be on the alliance that would rule the BMC. The rates on who could be the mayor, would also be opened simultaneously," the bookie said.
The second phase would be on January 10 when rates on the number of seats the individual political party would win, be opened.
The final rates on individual candidates, but only on some prestigious seats, would be opened after January 15.
The bookies, anyway believe that there would be alliance of Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena. But they strongly feel that Raj Thackeray's party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) would play a crucial role in getting a majority for one of these alliances. "That is because no alliance is going to get a clear cut majority," the bookie said.
Moreover, he further said that the outstation bookies would keep on changing their hotels every two to three days to avoid suspicion.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Dhananjay Kamlakar said, "Police has no information on bookies operating for betting on BMC elections. However, we will keep a close watch and if their activities come to our notice we shall promptly take action."