Whatever may be the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections, the punters are betting on Congress emerging as the single largest party, according to bookies in Rajasthan. If one goes by present odds being offered in the betting market, then the Congress is likely to win 140 to 145 seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 125 to 130 seats.
The betting market in Rajasthan is considered huge and as per rough estimates, it deals at over Rs.500-600 crores (Rs.5-6 billion). A Jaipur-based bookie told IANS that the odds for the Congress to win around 145 seats are 1 to 0.60-0.70 paisa.
That means someone betting a rupee on the Congress winning 145 seats and then winning the bet will make Rs.1.60-1.70. The lower the rate the higher the chances. For Congress winning 150 seats, the odds are 1:1.50.
The odds for the BJP winning 125 seats are 1:0.23-0.27, and for 130 seats, increase to 1:0.68-0.75.
A bookie from Sikar, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the "market" in their district is betting on the Congress, which, according to him, is likely to get around 140 seats.
He said that that the odds for the Congress to win around 140 seats are 1:0.20 and for 150 seats, the odds are prevailing at 1:1.25. For the BJP, the Sikar market feels that the party would be able to win 125 seats, the odds for which are 1:0.20 and for 130 seats, they are 1:0.55.
"We have not seen much change in the rates in the satta (betting) market after the exit poll results came on various television channels," the bookie said, adding that usually opinion polls and previous record of political parties are taken into account before deciding on the odds.
Another bookie, while summarising the present trends, said the gamblers believe that the chances of the BJP or the Congress getting a clear majority are slim.
According to him, BJP leader L.K. Advani is trailing far behind Manmohan Singh in the betting market for the prime minister's post. Odds in favour of Manmohan Singh, which around a week back were 1:2.70, have come down to 1:1.10-1.25 in the last 48 hours, he said.
In the last week, no one was ready to bet on Advani becoming the prime minister and on Thursday the odds for this stood at 1:4.50, showing that the chances of the BJP leader becoming the prime minister are considered very low.