AHMEDABAD: With 240 constituencies still to go to the hustings, Satta markets are betting on the BJP to win the Lok Sabha elections.
The odds are that the BJP is likely to pool 245 seats on its own, which is 27 short of a simple majority, as against 77 of the Congress party.
The bookies have made these predictions on the basis of polling for 303 seats in the first three phases across the country, while polling for the remaining 240 constituencies will be held on April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19.
The figure of 245 seats for the ruling party has increased from 232 predicted about a week ago after two rounds of balloting. The results will be announced on May 23. The Lok Sabha has 543 seats and a single party or a coalition putting together 272 seats can form a government.
The base betting rate for the 245 seats predicted for BJP is Rs 1 per seat, which goes down to 40 paise for 220-225 and 25 paise for 200-205 seats. "The lower the amount, the more is the surety of the outcome and fewer bets there. For instance, the bet for Rajkot Lok Sabha seat is only 18 paise for the BJP and for Bhavnagar it is 11 paise which means the party is almost sure to win these seats and there is nothing much to earn there on the predictable," a bookie explained.
Reliable sources in the betting markets in the state disclosed to IANS that the BJP is likely to win 22 out of 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, 20 out of 29 in Madhya Pradesh, 18 out of 25 in Rajasthan and 43 out of 80 in Uttar Pradesh - the four states which contributed as many as 149 seats out of the total 283 that the BJP bagged in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
These predictions indicate a fall of 46 seats for the ruling party.
No bets are usually put on the National Democratic Alliance or the United Progressive Alliance since the markets do not want to take risks on the number of partners the alliances may eventually have after the results are declared. They prefer individual national parties.
The biggest election betting markets in Gujarat are in Bhavnagar district-town (Saurashtra region) and Banaskantha district (North Gujarat). Predictions are made on the basis of polling percentages and the possible trends thereof where polling is yet to take place as well as a host of other local factors.
"There is nobody big or small in our business, no single market, be it in Delhi or elsewhere that drives the numbers. The predictions are a result of a broad consensus and they do not differ from city to city," a leading bookie in Bhavnagar district told IANS, on condition of anonymity.
He added that there is no estimate on the size of the market, nor to the number of people placing bets. "I can only tell you it is huge," the bookie said.