Ujjain: For whom will the bell toll!

Ujjain: With countdown begun for the counting of votes for the Assembly Election-2018 (December 11), people at large are keen to know its outcome. Though the average voter kept silence throughout the election campaigning and maintained it even during making beelines at the polling stations a trend of these elections emerged on Friday evening when different news channels aired results of exit and opinion polls conducted by them.

To keep our readers updated, the Free Press is trying to discover the discourse of these elections based on research and analysis of psephologists, political commentators and subject expert.

The issues

According to New Delhi-based psephologist Ajit Kumar Shukla, people got bored of seeing the 15-year-rule of a particular party. The issue of farmers seemingly dominated the entire electioneering.

Bhopal-based political commentator Ramesh Sharma said Kamal Nath sought 90 per cent Muslim voting. BJP appealed for 90 per cent polling. The criticism of the RSS by Kamal Nath has also worked: Initially the RSS did not like many candidates, but as soon as the Sangh’s controversy was created, the RSS had jumped with the strength, which resulted into unprecedented increase in voting percentage.

Ujjain-based psephologist Yatindra Singh Sisodia opined, where would the women and the rural high percentile go is the puzzle. There are two narratives in this election: firstly, agriculture sector, where there was a lot of discussion of rural unrest and agriculture distress and, secondly, crime against women.

Regional analysis

Shukla’s assessment is that the vote for change appears to be more intensified in Chambal, Mahakaushal,Vindhya and Bundelkhand regions. Situation appears to be slightly different in Bhopal, Malwa and West Nimar regions as these are the traditionally strongholds of the BJP. There are not more than 100 seats constituting these three regions. There are 51 districts in MP: if Congress is looking for more seats in 60 per cent districts and 40 per cent of the districts are where the BJP is getting more seats, the Congress may snatch away 2-3 seats this time, he concluded.

Sharma’s assessment is that 5 percent increase in the percentage of voting is incomprehensible. An increase of 1 to 1.50 voting percentage was estimated. But it is not an indication that such an increase in the voting percentage is pointing towards any major factor or if it was against BJP or Congress? Nevertheless, BJP is likely take 130 seats and Congress may be confined to 80-90 seats.

Dr Sisodia’s assessment is that this time the situation of 1998 could be repeated when there was a difference of about 2 percent of the voting percentage between the two parties. In the year 1993, it was 1.50%, although in both the elections Chhattisgarh was not formed and Madhya Pradesh was an undivided state. In 2013, there was a difference of 8.50 voting percent between the BJP-Congress and in the 2018 elections. This time anti-incumbency factor was not so strong and no wave has been shown across the state. In Malwa-West Nimar region where BJP secured 57 seats and Congress could wrest only 9 seats in 2013 elections, this time the Congress may clinch 30-35 seats.

Strengths and weaknesses of BJP

According to Shukla, BJP is in a position to compete because of its major welfare schemes including Ujjawala Yojana, Ladli Laxmi Yojana, Sambal Yojana, Teerth Darshan Yojana, subsidised food grain distribution, etc. Prevalent dissatisfaction against sitting MLAs and their inactiveness during the five year term may also prove costlier. “The core voters of the party was the upper and middle class Hindu, which is displeased for two reasons:

enforcement of SC-ST Prevention of Atrocity Act, 2018, which gave birth to the SAPAKS and which became the opinion maker, and, secondly, reservation in promotions annoyed the unreserved category government employees to a great extent,” Shukla added, Sharma opined that the status of BJP-Congress looks to be 60-40 in ratio. This time BJP will take a good lead in Indore, Bhopal and Jabalpur divisions.

The fight is equal in the Gwalior division. There is a possibility of BJP’s loss in Vindya. Bundelkhand is a match of equality. BJP will have upper hand in Malwa and Bhopal. Dr Sisodia explained that anti-incumbency was one of the multiple-factors which we have taken into account to assess the course and outcome of the present elections. There were resentment among the rank and file of the party against the repetition of sitting MLAs and ministers. Their mother organisation RSS did not work for those candidates who were not of their liking.

Analysing Congress

Shukla said, Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s announcement during a meeting in Mandsaur appeared to have worked a lot in party’s favour. RaGa said that if the Congress comes to the government agriculture loan up to Rs 2 lakh will be waived-off within 10 days and if the incumbent CM fails to do so he would change him as well. Biggest factor looks to be in Congress favour is that this time a ‘united’ Congress fought the election and not the ‘divided’ Congress.

Sharma said, the BJP has the disadvantage of its own sabotage and dissatisfaction, that is, it does have harm from itself, but not from the Congress. Reason: The rebels are contesting elections from Berasia, Hoshangabad, Damoh among others. According to Dr Sisodia, there will be a very close finish this time as difference of maximum 15-20 seats may exist between the two parties. Vote difference between the two parties may not cross 2 per cent. There is a possibility of a game changer in Congress’ favour and signals of change were evident in the opinion polls. However, the final picture will emerge only on December 11.

Satta Bazaar’s view

There is tremendous buoyancy between the two parties for capturing 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh. BJP currently holds 165 seats and Congress 57 seats. According to Mumbai-operated satta bazaar, the situation of volatility has been created. According to satta bazaar, BJP had it was estimated earlier that the BJP may get maximum number of 120 seats and the price was opened at the rate of Rs 3.50, while price of Rs 2.25 was opened in favour of Congress for the same number of seats.

There is a change in these rates as the price has now reached the maximum of 110 seats for both parties, which is showing better conditions for Congress with the rate of Rs 1.75. Against this, rate of Rs 2 is running for the BJP for 110 seats. In this way, the BJP is seemingly suffering loss and the satta bazaar is showing slight edge for Congress.

Duel worth Rs 40,000 crore!

For the formation of the government, rate of 87 paisa is favouring Congress, and for the BJP government is going up to Rs 1.05. There is a sharp-edge fight between the two parties on 10 seats. In November it was estimated that total collection of satta bazaar may reach Rs 28, 000 by the end of the last result which is still 4 days away. Till December 1, there was a speculative bid of Rs 35,000 crore. It is likely that due to the continuous enthusiasm of punters, this amount can increase between Rs 40, 000 and 50, 000 crore.

How it works?

Satta is opened at a small scale in MP and those local bookies who maintain books from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 2 crore also open speculative satta, though they experience local political pressure. Those who operate national satta open their accounts from Rs 500 crore. Topmost 22 bookies of the country have one consortium they use to bid for big events such as beauty pageant, Wimbledon, cricket, Mumbai’s monsoon, besides elections. These bookies meet at places, which are often resorts of Mumbai, 15-20 days before the event to decide the rates. Only after this, rate runs on national and international level.

Credibility in dishonest business

The satta is opened only on 3 states and not on 5 states which went on for polls. Satta on north-east and south are not opened usually and it is mostly opened in western, north and central regions. Less rate of any party indicates suggests its fair chances of success. The rates opened by big bookies remain hundred percent applicable.

These bookies are so reliable because their team members check the pulse of the people on every village-city, street-nook and understand what the atmosphere is and then report it to their bosses who open the rates during the meeting of their consortium. They do not do any kind of manipulation to fix the rate and to give someone an edge because their full business runs on ‘credibility’. If the punter will find that the bookie opens the manipulated rate, then their business is sure to be ruined. Why would anybody bet it again?
–AS TOLD BY MUMBAI-BASED UNDERWORLD REPORTER VIVEK AGRAWAL

(niruktbhargav@gmail.com)

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