On a poll roll! Satta bazaar booms in city

first_img Ajay Kumar Gulam Jeelani New DelhiMay 8, 2019UPDATED: May 8, 2019 02:00 IST The most popular bets include those on Modi becoming PM, Rahul winning both his seats and the performance of the SP-BSP alliance in UP. (File Photo)With the Lok Sabha election entering its final two weeks and ‘judgment day’ (May 23) approaching, the underground betting market has reached a state of ecstasy.Political betting has grown so big that it has even dwarfed punting on the IPL, bookies told MAIL TODAY. Different estimates by them suggest that the size of the election betting market now stands at over a thousand crores, almost twice as big as it was in 2014. Since betting is unregulated and illegal, MAIL TODAY could not independently verify this figure.The exponential growth of the ‘satta’ market has also been aided by mobile apps and websites, with many of them operating abroad – where betting is legalised. “It is a multi-million pound business. Bets change every day,” said a person familiar with the international betting market, referring to a website operating from London which offers daily betting rates for the number of seats the BJP and the Congress will (or won’t) win.Even as rates change every day, the ‘satta bazaar’ predicts that the BJP will finish below the majority mark of 272, but will manage to form the government. The Congress, on the other hand, might not cross 100 seats, predict the punters.”Betting rates are directly proportional to the possibility of seats that a party will get. The BJP getting less than 200 seats is a distant probability and hence a bet on this number will offer a premium,” he said.On Tuesday, the odds (where the money one gets is return varies) on BJP were 200/13/15.advertisementThis meant for every Re 1 placed on 200 seats for BJP, one would get `1.15. And if the BJP doesn’t get 200, the return comes down to `1.13. Similarly for Congress, the odds were 60/22/27. So if Congress wins 60 seats, the person would get `1.27 in return. If it is less than 60 seats, the person will get `1.22 paisa. In many cases, the betting rates are decided by the party’s vote share in the 2014 elections.The betting market also factors in key issues such as unemployment, prices of commodities and fuel as also allegations and counter-allegations (depending on which ones stick and have the potential of impacting voters’ choice).In Delhi, the market predicts five to seven seats for the BJP. Bookies believe there is a tight triangular contest among the BJP, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress, but the saffron party leads in at least five seats on the back of PM Narendra Modi’s popularity.”Though there is no Modi wave in the country, there is an undercurrent of urban voters by and large casting their votes for the BJP. Besides, the momentum has shifted after the Pulwama terror attack and nationalism comes on top of the minds of voters, especially the urban class,” a Delhi-based bookie told Mail Today.In the Chandni Chowk constituency, the sizeable population of Muslim voters is expected to vote for JP Agarwal, candidate of the Congress party. Hence, Agarwal is bookies’ favourite here and the betting market offers lesser returns on him. In North East Delhi, there is a triangular fight between Sheila Dikshit of the Congress, Manoj Tiwari of the BJP and Dilip Pandey of the AAP.The ‘satta’ market believes Dikshit has an edge over the other two. “There is a strong chance of the Purvanchali vote splitting between Tiwari and Pandey and it will help Dikshit clinch the seat,” the bookie said.The betting market has shown a lot of interest in East Delhi too, with cricketer Gautam Gambhir taking on AAP candidate Atishi and Congress’ Arvinder Singh Lovely. Atishi, as of now, is a favourite among punters, with Gambhir a close second.”The minimum betting amount is Rs 10,000. We have different mobile apps, websites and direct investment also possible. The bidding price fluctuates every day,” a bookie said.Payments are done through back-channels, sources said. For larger bets, running in lakhs or crores, the money goes to offshore accounts – to avoid detection by security agencies.The most popular bets include those on Narendra Modi becoming PM, Rahul Gandhi winning both his seats (Amethi and Wayanad) and the performance of the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh.According to the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, states have the rights to make laws and policies regarding “gambling and betting”. Physical betting on sports (offline) is illegal across India.Most of the betting on elections is done telephonically. Bookies are reached over a call, text message or WhatsApp, where they reveal the odds for a bet. Payments happen through backchannels and online transfers.”If you know a bookie, you do not need to give an advance. If you come through a reference, you pay 50% in advance. Cash transactions happen in small bets, but the larger bets – running into several lakhs – involve offshore accounts too,” said a bookie.advertisementPolice say they act as soon as they receive a tip-off. “As there is a possibility that a bookie may operate individually or as part of an organised international syndicate, we keep an eye on the activities of known bookies and Hawala traders,” said Gurugram Deputy Commissioner Police (Crime) Rajiv Deshwal.Madhur Verma, Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi, told Mail Today, “The Delhi Police’s crime branch, Special Cell and Intelligence wings closely monitor the activities of bookies, also called punters. They generally operate through apps. We appeal to the people to avoid getting into the net of such punters.”Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byPrakriti Sharma Tags :Follow Lok Sabha election 2019Follow Rahul GandhiFollow PM ModiFollow congressFollow BJP On a poll roll! Satta bazaar booms in cityAided by apps and websites, the betting market for 2019 elections has grown almost twice as big as it was in 2014.advertisementlast_img

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