Bookies score bull’s eye in national predictions, but not Mumbai

May 17th, 2009 - 3:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, May 17 (IANS) Bookies and punters scored a bull’s eye in the all-India election results outcome, but their calculations went awry in Mumbai where they suffered losses amounting to nearly Rs.500 crore (Rs.5 billion), sources in the industry said here Sunday.

In Mumbai, the bookies and bettors failed in their assessment of the outcome in three seats and on candidates belonging to the saffron combine of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena, a bookie revealed Sunday morning.

These are:

Mumbai North - where BJP’s Ram Naik was the favourite and the odds were against Congress’ Sanjay Nirupam, who won the seat. The bookies gave odds of Rs.0.50 on Naik over Nirupam at Rs.1.60. That meant anyone betting a rupee on Naik’s win would make Rs.1.50 if he did win, while someone who bet a rupee on Nirupam’s win would now make Rs.2.60.

Mumbai North-East - where BJP’s Kirit Somaiya was the favourite at Rs.0.65 over the Nationalist Congress Party’ (NCP) Sanjay D. Patil, who trailed at Rs.1.50 with punters, but won the seat.

Mumbai North-West - where Sena strongman Gajanan Kirtikar was the favourite at Rs.0.85 over the Congress winner Gurudas Kamat, who trailed at Rs.1.05.

The bookies said that the BJP-Sena combine should have given opportunity to new, youthful faces instead of repeating aged and weary veterans in the three seats.

“All the Congress-NCP winners in Mumbai - Milind Deora, Eknath Gaekwad, Priya Dutt, as well as Kamat, Nirupam and Patil - are young and dynamic, appealing to the sentiments of the youth brigade,” one bookie pointed out.

After the fifth and final phase of polling last Wednesday and till Friday evening, the betting frenzy had seen Rs.20,000 crore (Rs.200 billion/$4 billion) being invested in the illegal market, with nearly Rs.1,200 crore being bet on Mumbai’s six Lok Sabha seats, according to a bookie.

As the results were declared and the UPA emerged the clear winner, there was subdued celebration among the bookies and punters.

Their projection of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh continuing in office proved correct as also the Congress-led UPA making a comeback.

Singh had been the hot favourite for the top job since polling started in mid-April.

At the close of polling last Wednesday, Manmohan Singh commanded odds of Rs.1.15 over L.K. Advani, the BJP’s prime ministerial aspirant, who stood at Rs.2.00.

Despite the gloomy picture emerging in the media over various permutations and combinations being attempted on the eve of results, Manmohan Singh actually managed to improve his standing and commanded Rs.0.65, by Friday evening, while Advani’s position remained unchanged.

An estimated Rs.1,800 crore was bid on Manmohan Singh and around Rs.800 crore on Advani, on their respective prospects for becoming prime minister.

The rates of the two main political entities the UPA and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) stood at Rs.0.86 and Rs.1.25 respectively.

Other entities like the Third Front were practically written off at Rs.13, while the Fourth Front, the Left parties and their regional affiliates were nowhere in the reckoning.

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