It is a close call in West Bengal elections, find bookies

It is a close call in West Bengal elections, find bookies

 The underbelly of Kolkata, which bets money on everything, from rain clouds to IPL matches, seems to suggest what analysts and a number of poll surveys have suggested — the results to the state Assembly polls will be a close one.

Going by the wager rates, Trinamool Congress is marginally ahead of the Left-Congress alliance. According to most bookies in the city, the Bengal results, to be announced on May 19, are headed for a photo finish, with the difference between the two sides a mere 3 paisa.

If for every rupee wagered on a Trinamool victory will get a punter Rs 1.55, betting on the coalition’s win will return Rs 1.58. This is one of the closest electoral contests in Bengal, admitted bookie Aroon Shah (name changed). Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, however, is in a far better position and most bookies believe she will not just win but has a chance of slightly increasing her margin since last time. Shah’s rates suggest that for every rupee on Mamata, a punter will get Rs 1.60 in return, which is not a bad return, considering the atmosphere of uncertainty, say bookies and punters. Heavy bets are also being placed on Mamata returning as the Chief Minister.

Some small bets on the side trying to gauge whether she will continue to have leaders, who were tainted by the controversial “Narada” video footage. The 2 prime contestants fighting from Mamata’s home seat of Bhawanipore, Deepa Dasmunshi of Congress and Chandra Kumar Bose of BJP, are lagging behind her with their respective rates being Rs 1.90 and Rs 2.10. Additional bets are being wagered on who is likely to come second, Deepa or Bose, although Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grand-nephew is the least favourite.

The rates for most heavyweight Trinamool leaders and ministers are placed at a difference of 10 to 12 paisa, with a large number of punters heavily betting on some of them losing the polls and on surprises. While most bookies operate from Burrabazar, the trading hub in central Kolkata, in another part of the city, another set of bookies are lacing equally close bets on how many seats individual parties are likely to win.

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