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Punters bet high on UPA trust vote win

Palak Shah in Mumbai | July 11, 2008 03:10 IST

Bets of nearly Rs 500 crore have been accepted in the satta bazaar or the illegal betting market over the past two days, with punters riding high on odds that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government will survive a confidence or trust vote in Parliament.

The amount is expected to cross Rs 2,500 crore before the date of the confidence vote is announced. Major bets have been accepted from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi, Kanpur, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

The settlement would take place though 'hawala', or illegal foreign exchange trading, after the results are announced.

The United Progressive Alliance government has been reduced to minority after the Left parties withdrew its support of 59 lawmakers due to differences over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

At least 272 seats are required to prove a majority in the 543-member House. The UPA currently has 224 seats of its own and the UP-based Samajwadi Party (SP) has assured support of 39 MPs, which takes its tally to 263.

Bookies think the UPA would not get more than 274 seats, so they are offering higher payouts to punters who bet their money on seats above 274.

According to one punter, the market expects cross voting by four SP lawmakers but UP Chief Minister Mayawati would not allow at least two other lawmakers of her Bahujan Samaj Party, who are in jail, to travel to New Delhi for the vote, reducing the halfway mark.

"Yet, we are sure the UPA will get more than nine seats from small regional parties, but cannot cross 280-seat mark," he said.

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