Mangaluru: With exit polls being the talk of the town, gamblers in the district are hooked on to their phones, updating themselves on the current price running on MLA candidates. With the simultaneous commencement of IPL and elections, some are having a gala time in the politics and cricket crazy district. Needless to say, it is a direct fight between the ruling Congress and its arch-rival BJP in all eight constituencies of DK.
Going by the current ratio in betting circles, Congress is the favourite in four of the eight constituencies. According to sources in betting circles, the Congress has an edge in Mangaluru City South, Mangaluru, Puttur and Belthangady assembly constituencies, while the BJP is a favourite in Moodbidri, Sullia and Mangaluru North constituencies. Bantwal is running at an even rate for both parties, at established bookies.
In a surprising turn of events, insiders in the business say Dr Bharath Y Shetty, the BJP candidate from Mangaluru North assembly constituency, is currently the favourite. The swing in the betting circle has been drastic, as pre-poll predictions held Congress candidate B A Mohiuddin Bava as the winning horse. A faction of the Sangh Parivar, which had gone to great lengths opposing Dr Shetty’s candidature, seems to have finally cast their votes for the BJP candidate, in order to ensure that the votes of Hindutva workers are not split.
Congress candidates, J R Lobo from the Mangaluru City South Assembly constituency, U T Khader from Mangaluru constituency and Shakuntala Shetty from Puttur constituency, are currently the favourites, with a 60:40 ratio. This means, gamblers supporting these three candidates win Rs 6,000 if their respective candidate wins, while they lose Rs 10,000 if their rivals win. The advantage is also attributed to the trio, as they are the incumbent legislators.
Betting ratios for Moodbidri and Sullia are currently settled in a 60:40 ratio, favouring saffron party candidates Umanath Kotian and Dr B Raghu.
While district in-charge minister B Ramanath Rai was the favourite before polling, betting circles are now weighing him and his rival candidate from the BJP, Rajesh Naik, equally.
Another belief in the district is that aggressive voting and BJP’s prospects are directly proportional to each other. The voter turnout in Dakshina Kannada was 77.63%, an increase of 3% from 2013. The district polled 74.48% in the previous assembly elections.