With just a day to go for the Punjab assembly election results, punters are said to have staked hundreds of crores of rupees on the possible outcomes.
According to insiders in the trade, the satta market has predicted that the Congress will form the next government by getting 62-63 seats. The ruling SAD-BJP alliance will sit in the Opposition this time by securing 48-50 seats (SAD: 40-41, BJP: 8-9), while the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) and others will get five seats.
The odds are 3:1 and 1.3:1 in favour of the SAD-BJP and the Congress, respectively. Those who put Rs 1 lakh on the Congress will get Rs 1.30 lakh if the party wins the elections. Those betting Rs 1 lakh on the SAD-BJP will get Rs 3 lakh if the alliance returns to power.
The key questions for the bettors are: how many seats will the Congress, SAD-BJP and the PPP win? Who will win from Lambi (chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, brother Gurdas Badal of the PPP or Congress candidate Mahesh Inder Singh Badal)?
Which candidate(s) will win or lose from key constituencies such as Gidderbaha, Maur, (from where PPP president Manpreet Singh Badal is contesting), Lehra (Congress heavyweight Rajinder Kaur Bhattal pitted against PPP’s Bhagwant Mann), Samana (PPCC chief Capt Amarinder Singh’s son Raninder Singh versus Akali stalwart Surjit Singh Rakhra), Bathinda, Rampura Phul, Guru Har Sahai and Barnala, and by how many votes?
In the 2007 assembly elections, the satta market’s predictions had proved accurate to a great extent. At that time, they had given 67 seats to the SAD-BJP alliance (SAD: 55, BJP: 12) and 47 to the Congress. Although the total figure for the coalition turned out to be the same (67), the SAD had got 48 seats and the BJP, 19. The Congress had bagged 44 seats.
Sources said the satta market has gone high-tech, with mobile phones and the internet defining the way the business is conducted. Market insiders said they were in touch with political leaders to get a hang of the emerging political situation. Senior leaders of various parties, besides civil and police officials, are also said to be getting feedback from sources in the satta market.
A bookie involved in inter-state operations said on the condition of anonymity that the amount of money at stake in election-related satta was directly proportional to the electorate’s interest in the elections. He added that after the results were announced, unaccounted money, which could run into crores of rupees, would change hands.
On how the system worked, he said, “We place our bet on the telephone. The rest depends on trust. There is no paper work. We pay or get the money from the person we talk to.”