Satta Bazaar roots for BJP in Uttar Pradesh

MUMBAI: The BJP appears to have edged ahead of its rivals in the satta bazaar sweepstakes. Post the saffron party’s unprecedented victory in Maharashtra municipal body elections, the results of which were declared last Thursday, bookies say there is one way betting on the BJP coming close to a majority in Uttar Pradesh (UP) state assembly elections.

After five phases of polling in UP, bookies say, the party is expected to win at least 180 seats in various betting markets across the country compared with earlier perception of a hung assembly. “People are fearful of betting against the wave that is still in favor of the BJP,” said one of Delhi’s leading bookie, currently ensconced in Lucknow.

The BJP won eight out of 10 Municipal corporations in Maharashtra and did very well in local body elections in Odisha and Chandigarh.

“Maharashtra elections have shown that perceived negative impact of DE-admonition has not affected Modi’s image. Recent local body elections in Odisha, Chandigarh and UP legislative council all which were held this month shows BJP is being favoured by voters. Therefore, there is one way betting on the BJP winning UP and odds on the party could further fall in coming days,” he added.

The odds of BJP winning 180 seats in the 403 seat UP assembly are now pegged at 1:1. Simply put, those betting Re 1 on BJP winning 180 seats will earn double the amount they bet. On the other hand, it is believed that the incumbent Samajwadi Party (SP) may not be able to cross 150 seats. Odds of SP winning 150 seats are pegged at 2.5:1 and for 160 seats they are 4:1. Higher the odds, lesser are the expectations of the player winning that many seats.

The current odds of both the BJP and SP are different from the mood prevalent before the seven-phase UP elections began. In early February, the betting odds suggested that no party may win over 170 seats in UP. Odds for both the BJP and SP winning 170 seats were pegged at 4:1 and for both parties winning 160 seats are 2.5:1. But for the BJP, expectations have reversed sharply.

The bookies further said that they had witnessed a major shift in the voting pattern in UP. Unlike in 2012 when urban voters gravitated towards Akhilesh Yadav, the incumbent chief minister, this year they were rooting for the BJP. In 2012 UP assembly elections, the BJP managed to win 47 seats, BSP was elected on 80 seats and the SP won 224.

Polling is being conducted in seven phases in UP out of which voting for the fifth phase was being held on Monday. Voting for the remaining two phases will be held till March 8. Betting turnover of more than Rs 5000 crore has been recorded so far in major towns and cities.

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