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Bookies put price on CM’s head

Rane’s outburst against CM Deshmukh creates ripples in more camps than the Cong, reports Manish Pachouly.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2007 08:49 IST
Manish Pachouly

Narayan Rane’s recent outburst against Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh created ripples in more camps than the Congress.

Bookies, winning big money over the Gujarat elections, are now focusing on a change of guard in Maharashtra.

By next month, rates would be established on whether Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh would continue or be replaced.

Narendra Modi’s win in Gujarat was good news not just for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but also for thousands of punters across the country who placed bets in his favour.

With a total of Rs 3,300 crore being placed in bets, a majority favoured BJP staying in power and Modi becoming chief minister once again. “Punters who favoured BJP and Modi won over Rs 2,000 crore, while those who bet in favour of Congress lost all their money,” said a Mumbai bookie.

Initially, bookies had predicted that BJP would win 105 to 115 seats but the figure was raised to 112 to 117, with fresh rates, a couple of days before the polls. BJP finally got 117 seats.

In Maharashtra, Rane’s tirade against Deshmukh and his meeting with party chief Sonia Gandhi has triggered speculation.

“All this indicate some major development in the state soon,” the bookie said, adding that after settling accounts in Gujarat, his community would concentrate on Maharashtra when they meet in the city to celebrate the new year.

The bets, according to him, will be on whether Deshmukh would continue as chief minister and if not, who would take his position. Names featuring on the list of prospective replacements include Sushilkumar Shinde, Prithviraj Chavan, Patangrao Kadam, Rohidas Patil and Narayan Rane.

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