City bookies have been doing brisk business these days, thanks to the election fever that gripped the voters around every nook and corner here. With the poll discussions becoming the top talking point among the young and old alike, the market odds have been rampantly on play. Bets are frequently placed on the prominent candidates and the big moolah was reportedly involved in betting market that finds many likes from the citizens. This time too Congress MP Vilas Muttemwar is up for some surprise play in the last moments as he never remained favourite of the bookies since past few elections.
Nagpur Today tracks the trend…
With only three days to go for polls in Nagpur, draggers have drawn further in the election battle with all the prospective candidates pushing their might to ensure the big ticket win to pave their way to parliament. The poll heat has further enhanced the business prospects for most of the small time vendors and unemployed youth who are engaged in the campaigning services for various parties. However, the top gainers remained the bunch of bookies who have kept their odds open for the citizens to bet for their prospective candidates. The candidate ruling the trend is BJP candidate Nitin Gadkari betting upon whom would fetch you 40 paise extra for every rupee placed. As far Congress Candidate and present Nagpur MP Vilas Muttemwar is concerned, odds for him have been offered at Rs 1.20 which means gaining Rs 1.40 on every rupee placed, if Muttemwar wins. Bet on Muttemwar was initially opened at Rs 1.60 but it toned down to Rs 1.20 two days later.
Tracking down the odds placed during past few elections, it turned out that Congress candidate Vilas Muttemwar never remained the favorite bet for the city bookies as they had always considered the chances of him winning as grim. However after every election in the past, Muttemwar turned out to be the surprise winner sweeping away with the highest tally of votes in his kitty. A bookie on condition of anonymity likened him to the cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni who often displays surprise play at the last moment and turns the victory towards him in the last over of every match.
This time too, bookies are taking Muttemwar on the losing board as they have offered Rs 1.40 for him against 40 paise being offered for bets on Gadkari. And this time too history appears all set to repeat itself, a bookie said. This bookie informed that gauging the big difference between the two odds, no one wants to bet on Gadkari as every one considers Muttemwar could turn the table at the last moment. And in doing so, the people have taken cue from the pages of the past.
During 1998 Lok Sabha elections, the situation was no different when odds on Ramesh Mantri who was pitted against Muttemwar, was placed at 40 paise while offer for betting on Muttemwar was quite high at Rs 1.40. The results favoured Muttemwar who secured the victory with thumping margin of 1.63 lakh votes.
An year later in 1999 when the Lok Sabha elections were announced again after the BJP government fell under lack of majority, the odds went equal at 60 paise both for Muttemwar and BJP’s Gudadhe Patil. At that time too Muttemwar defeated Patil with the margin of 70,000 votes. Interestingly, in the same year it was BJP ruling the Nagpur Municipal Corporation and Gadkari had then stated that it appeared as if he was contesting the elections.
Again in 2004 elections, odds on BJP’s Atal Bahadur Singh were kept at 60 paise while Muttemwar fetched little higher at 80 paise. Eventually, Muttemwar emerged winner with 1 lakh votes. It may be mentioned that it was the same year when BJP government was overwhelmed with its ‘India Shining’ campaign, only to be toppled by Congress and its alliances at the Centre.
During 2009 elections, BJP fielded Banwarilal Purohit against Muttemwar. The bets were 60 paise and 90 paise, for Purohit and Muttemwar respectively. At that time Muttemwar secured victory with the margin of 25,000 votes.
The trend this year too favours Muttemwar but bookies are again relying on Gadkari. It will be the voters’ call at the end.
Now that the campaigning comes to end on Tuesday, Muttemwar, who had been undertaking padyatra as part of his campaign, was compared to Gadkari who rode over his jeep to make the heady campaign throughout Nagpur and nearing areas. The trend takes the poll analysts back to the old story of the hare and the tortoise, where in, the hare took a quick run and got to take a nap under the shady comfort of a tree after reaching a short distance. On the other hand, tortoise walks all the way to victory. It appears the story is going to repeat again, albeit in political terms.