If a vibrant democracy is about difference of opinion, GHMC elections are a proof of ours being one. Even the bookies are split in their opinion about the thriller most people expect the Tuesday election might turn out to be. But the broadest truism is well established – it is a neck-and-neck race between the ruling TRS and the challenger, the BJP, and the MIM expected to hold on to its fortress.

The bookies in the most crucial bet – who will win more seats – the TRS or BJP – is giving a hairline edge to TRS; at 87 paisa to Re 1 for the pink party and 96 paisa for the BJP. There is a bet available on an exact tie, but odds are high, `2.76 for `1.

For non-punters and common people it means, if you invest Rs 100 on the prospect of TRS bagging more seats than the BJP, you win `87, and `96 for the same bet on the BJP winning. Since bets will be taken all of tomorrow, though odds will change, and till the day of the results, against the odds change after the exit polls start coming out. If you Rs 100 on a perfect tie between the TRS and the BJP, you get `276. Of course, in real life, bets often start at `10,000, but most big bookies don’t take anything below `1 lakh.

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The odds are different for the three key parties crossing the magic mark of 76 – the odds for a bet of `100 are `139 (TRS), `156 (BJP) and `276 (MIM). So the bookie market favours a close thriller at large over a clear majority for any party, with the TRS having a slight edge again over the BJP. The MIM is almost unlikely to cross 50 wards, much less so 75, according to most bookies. The odds of TRS crossing 100 wards is `476, and for the BJP `536 against a bet of `100.

There are a different set of odds on the Mayor, which combines the already prevalent heavy skew in favour of the TRS, which has 38 ex-officio votes against the mere three (3) of the BJP. The lowest odds are for a TRS-MIM alliance post-polls at a mere `101 to `100.

The equally interesting aspect is while bookies are offering these odds, most punters (people who place bets) are mostly betting either on the TRS or the BJP; with no takers for any of the other parties, be it MIM or the Congress.

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Another set of sources close to bookies and punters revealed that bookies tapping high worth punters for stakes on the BJP. This means, some of the biggest sums of bets are on the BJP, in terms of whether they will have a Mayor, cross the half-way mark or cross 50 seats. The next lot is betting on TRS crossing 50, TRS getting more seats than BJP, TRS crossing the half-way mark or crossing 100.

Some bookies have invited bets by offering stakes from 1:2 to 1:5 ratio on BJP seat numbers and grabbing power in GHMC, and matching the odds for TRS crossing 100 seats.

Sources explained that if BJP wins less than 15 seats, punters will get ` 500 win for `100 bet, and the same with BJP winning the Mayor seat. The odds, though not so steep are still high for TRS getting a majority at 76 seats at `200 win for `100 bet. It is `500 win for `100 bet for TRS crossing 100 seats.

Sources said bookies are trying to take bets on either TRS or BJP crossing 76 because these are being seen as safe for bookie bets (meaning, these are less likely to happen) and punters lose their money. But the odds are attractive for betters willing to take risks.

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Sources also said that in lower volumes and amounts, bets are being placed on MIM in terms of will they lose seats in the Old City from the existing 44. Sources said bookies are willing to offer high stakes on MIM losing seats at 1:2. The only wager available on the Congress is for the party crossing five or more seats.

These are clearly initial odds stakes and they will change dynamically in congruence with the real-time trends as polling begins. Sources also said that besides profession betting circles, political circles will start placing bets on winning chances of BJP and TRS from tomorrow evening. If the odds change suddenly by noon tomorrow, it means a particular trend is clear.

What are the odds that despite all the reminders, several people won’t actually go out and vote? Sadly, we would have bet on that but no bookie is open to giving money to bet on the irresponsibility or indifference of the urban middle classes. #KhabarLive #hydnews