The ongoing 2019 Lok Sabha poll is keenly observed by not only politicians, citizens, and political analysts but bookies too are closely following it. On one hand, citizens are glued to their television sets to get live updates about the polling percentage and on the other hand, bookies are involved in a huge amount of betting on candidates contesting the election. Even though the World Cup is just a month away but this time election has taken the centre stage as bets are being placed on several candidates. The results of Lok Sabha election will be declared on May 23 but before that bookies are investing lump sum money on various candidates contesting polls. Elections are being held in seven phases and betting is placed on every phase of polling. What makes this election more interesting is that even the common man is investing money on various candidates along with bookies. Thus, this election is a time for bookies and people to make money by betting.
When Afternoon Voice spoke to Babulal (name changed) from Gujarat, who is a bookie from past 35 years, he said, “This time betting on politics have outdone IPL and Cricket World Cup. It is interesting to note that people at ground level who never used to indulge in betting are investing their pennies in politics.” When asked whether police might raid him for indulging in betting which is an illegal activity, he asserted, “Police have also invested their money this time in betting and controlling betting on polls can be done to a certain extent, majorly is out of reach. The election is people’s mandate and people are willingly investing money in it.”
Betting in 2019 general polls is being placed on several candidates contesting the election and Kanhaiya Kumar has garnered the major attention of bookies this time. Reportedly, if one rupee is placed on Kanhaiya Kumar, it will fetch five rupees. Smriti Irani is another candidate closely followed by the bookies. If a person invests one rupee on Smriti, there’s a chance of gaining ten rupees in return.
Political journalist Nilesh Khare said, “Betting incidents were happening earlier too; although, public used to indulge in betting activities at a small level. The exchange of cash is happening on a large scale this time. Political leaders are giving too much importance to the prediction of bookies. They are morally supporting betting activities. Bookies from Dubai, Nepal, and Bhutan are coming to India for election betting. Betting is legal in foreign countries. The government should either legalise betting or should ban it completely.”
Bets are also being placed on Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For Rahul Gandhi, every one rupee invested will fetch three rupees. Betting is also happening on Congress vs BJP for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. If a person puts one rupee on Congress, he will get twenty rupees and if one rupee is placed on Modi, it will fetch him five rupees. In Mathura, every one rupee invested on Hema Malini will yield five rupees, as per reports.
Political expert Abdul Wahab said, “Betting is illegal and it is making our system weak. If a member of a political party gets involved in betting, it will be a big setback to the corruption-free movement. This is a criminal offence and action should be taken against the ones involved.”
News reports claim that bets worth two lakh crore rupees are being placed on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, twice as much as 2014 election. The most common bets in the election this year are whether Narendra Modi will retain prime ministerial post and whether Rahul Gandhi will win both the seats.
Hatim (name changed), a bookie from Lucknow said, “Smriti Irani and Giriraj Singh will win from Begusarai. A significant amount has been invested on Kanhaiya Kumar on the other hand. Too much money is placed on Smriti Irani from Amethi. Bookies have preferred to put the highest amount on Smriti and Kanhaiya for the 2019 general elections.”