Predict poll results, earn ` 10 lakh, challenges rationalist

When political parties are battling hard for seats in the upcoming State Assembly elections, the Federation of Indian Rationalists’ Association (FIRA) President is battling astrologers who claim that they can predict the election results even before it takes place.

Prof Narendra Nayak, Founder of Dakshina Kannada Rationalist Association has thrown an open challenge for Rs 10 lakh to astrologers to predict the results of the elections that will take place on May 5.

Prof Nayak has assured to hand over Rs 10 lakh to the astrologer who succeeds the challenge and also publicly declare that he has held wrong views about astrology and apologise for all the statements he has made debunking it.

However, if the astrologer fails, he has to hand over Rs 10 lakh to Nayak's Aid without Religion Trust and also make a public statement that astrology is a fraud and he will stop practicing it.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Prof Narendra Nayak says that he has been challenging astrologers from the past two decades.

"I receive a lot of entries. However, when we show real interest in the challenge, they start backing out," he laughs.

"I started the challenge initially by keeping the prize money as Rs 1 lakh. However, over the years I have increased it to Rs 10 lakh and have plans to increasing it to Rs 20 lakh in the future. However, it looks like astrologers are not confident to take up the challenge," he adds.

Keen astrologer

In the present challenge, an astrologer from Bangalore named Shankar Hegde has shown keen interest in participating.

However, he is not agreeable to all the terms and questions posed by Nayak.

Prof Nayak wants Hegde to fore-tell the number of seats which will be won by Indian National Congress, BJP, JD(S), KJP, BSR Congress, CPI(M) and independent candidates.

He also wants to know the percentage of polling at Mangalore South Vidhan Sabha constituency and percentage of polling at Shikaripur constituency and also the name of the party assuming power after the elections.

He also wants to know the number of votes received by N Yogish Bhat, H Manjunath, Shakuntala Shetty, Shobha Karandlaje, Jagadish Shettar, G Parameshwara, K S Eshwarappa, Pramod Madhwaraj, Siddaramaiah and H D Kumaraswamy.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Shankar Hegde said that predicting the number of seats that political parties will win is a tough task, however he is trying his own new method.

Secondly, Hegde states that predicting the number of votes the candidates will receive is not part of astrology.

 "I simply cannot predict. One requires to see charts for predicting," he says. Hegde is also demanding a 10 per cent margin of error while Nayak has offered only a 5 per cent margin. Hegde has left it to Nayak to reconsider his terms. Hegde has also told that he shall declare his predictions, irrespective of the challenge.

However, Nayak feels that Hegde insisting to change the terms that he once agreed, is a strategy of backing out. Nayak welcomes Hegde's move of declaring the predictions on a public forum.

With elections round the corner, the battle is heating up. Only time will tell, if the astrologer's predictions succeed or the rationalist's logical point.

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