With the Gujarat assembly election just round the corner there has been a surge in betting activities in Gujarat and Mumbai. Even though BJP had emerged victorious in 2012 Gujarat assembly polls but this time the party faces a tough task to retain its foothold in the state as voters are unhappy due with the Modi government’s demonetisation campaign and hastily imposed Goods and Services Tax (GST). Therefore, bookmakers are betting cautiously this time and they are offering Rs 2.50 for every Rs 1 placed on a BJP win and Rs 3 for every Rs 1 placed on a Congress win. They are not sure about which party will win the polls and therefore, had lowered the margin offered on both BJP and Congress to 50 paise. Thus punters are expecting that the Gujarat assembly polls will be a closely fought battle between Congress and BJP. On the other hand they had offered 1:1 for BJP winning 161 seats out of 403 in Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. The betting market rates were 2.5:1 for Samajwadi-Congress alliance for winning more than 150 seats. Most of the bookies run their business through phones and laptops and maintain confidentiality about it. Most of them operate in moving cars to escape arrest. Offshore syndicates run the illegal business with money accepted and returned through hawala channels. They are expecting BJP’s vote share to come down by 44 per cent.
Bhaskar Jadhav, a Mumbai resident said, “BJP will easily win 150 seats in Gujarat assembly polls. Betting is illegal but it is happening in cricket and politics. Lesser money is being placed on the party winning election. Since BJP is emerging victorious hence lower rates are offered to it and more for Congress.”
Zamir Khan, Rehmani group north Mumbai president said, “Nobody is happy in Gujarat with BJP’s performance and there is a possibility of Congress emerging victorious. We have heard about betting activities occurring in cricket but now it is happening in political field too which is unjustified. The government must take action against bookies involved in betting activities. A probe must be done to investigate how Rs 40,000 crore is being invested in betting activities. Without political asylum betting cannot flourish. The government forms committees but no action is taken against the accused.”
Dipti Bhatt, Shiv Sena corporator said, “People are unhappy with BJP’s performance hence they will support Congress. I can’t comment about betting activities happening prior to Gujarat assembly polls. Gujarat voters want change as they want good governance.”
Geeta Jain, BJP corporator said, “I am unaware about betting activities but development has happened in Gujarat due to the good work done by BJP. According to me, BJP will win people’s mandate in the upcoming Gujarat assembly polls.”