Ahmedabad, March 26 (IANS) The second season of the
Indian Premier League (IPL) might have moved out of the country, but
punters have just moved into the towns of Gujarat. They are here to
‘fix’ another game just as exciting and unpredictable as cricket -
Police have started preparing to nab bookies who set up their
temporary dens in Gujarat cities and towns for a busy betting season
during the Lok Sabha polls.
The bookies, who operate as organised gangs during the cricketing
season, normally work from cities like Vadodara, Surat, Ahmedabad,
Rajkot and Bhuj and also accept bids during polls.
The gang members who escape arrest or those who have served
sentences regroup in the five Gujarat cities to establish their
“With the Lok Sabha polls ahead, police teams across Gujarat are
already on the hunt for these gangs as this would be their hottest
money making season because IPL matches are not happening in Ahmedabad
and other Indian cities,” a senior police official from the crime
branch told IANS.
He said the most organised gangs operate from Ahmedabad and Bhuj and
are constantly on the move. They accept bids in their vehicles while
travelling on highways. The gang members move in a vehicle carrying
multiple mobile phones whose numbers are changed frequently to hoodwink
A rough estimate of the betting racket in Gujarat during polls is around Rs.500 million per season.
As per initial details being collected by police teams, the bookies
take bets on four main parties at the national level such as the
Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Samajwadi Party and the
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Punters are being offered 80 paise more for a rupee spent on the Congress party if it wins a total of 150 seats, say police.
The bidding rate for the BJP is also 80 paise per one rupee spent if
the party wins a minimum of 120 seats in the Lok Sabha. The rate for
the Samajwadi Party is set at 60 paise for a rupee if it wins 20 seats
and for the BSP it is 35 paise for 80 seats, the police official said.
Most of the bookies get rounded up before the polling day on a
regular basis and they are found to be members of known gangs across
The gangs which carry out betting during the cricketing season are
found to be active during polls. During the last assembly polls, more
than 200 bookies were rounded up, the police official added.
BSP is sure to win 272 seats for the following reasons:
U.P.: Pro-incumbency plus core vote
For Mayawati pro-incumbency plus base vote is strong,
The defining point of Lucknow 2009 is
the brown dust haze that blankets its skyline. The haze is from the relentless
demolition and construction that started in May 2007, when Mayawati, in a
stunning display of political showmanship, formed Uttar Pradesh’s first
majority government in 16 years.
Ms Mayawati is the queen of hearts,
her sterling qualities apparently too many to count, the most quoted being the
iron discipline she brought to her earlier governments. A popular slogan Ms
Mayawati used on the stump was:
goondon ki chhati par, mohar laga do haathi par (Crush the chest of the
goondas and vote the elephant).
As the election date approaches, what
comes as a bigger surprise is the admission by people in government that pro-incumbency
has begun to tell on the Mayawati regime. Officials eagerly outline the many
welfare projects in various stages of implementation.
Consequently, many are willing to bet
on the BSP bagging all the 80 Lok Sabha seats. Even from the subjective
perspective of the
secretariat, the confidently touted figure of 80 seats out of a total of 80
A round journey from Lucknow and back
via Allahabad, Varanasi, Azamgarh, Deoria, Gorakhpur, Faizabad and Barabanki,
one is invariably greeted by a praise of — Friendly police actions, uncurtailed water supply
for irrigation, full implementation of Below the Poverty Line ration cards, promised housing and so on. There is support
for the Chief Minister — from her core constituency of SC/STs, of course, but
also from sections of lower OBCs, Brahmins and Muslims. The last two tend
towards the BSP in constituencies where the party’s candidates are from their
communities. The social engineering formula that carried Ms Mayawati to
has been totally cracked.
No SC/STs complain about ration cards and housing along
with the poor among the forward
castes. SC/STs continue to stand
rocklike by their behenji, visibly thrilled at her becoming Prime
Minister. At an Ambedkar village in
when asked Who will they vote? Behenji, comes the reply.
The undiminished SC/STs and the
Sarvajan Samaj (entire people) support could be glimpsed in the colossal
turnout at the Chief Minister’s inaugural election rally in the eastern town of
crowds stampeded into the ground, cheerfully and throatily joining the chorus
echoing from the ministerial crew seated on stage: U.P. hui hamari hai, ab
dilli ki baari hai (U.P. is taken, we will take
On the way in villages and qasbas,
one will be able to gauge the continuing affinity that the more backward among
the OBCs, such as the Mauryas, the Rajbars and the Bhinds, feel for Ms
Mayawati. Brahmins are clearly united. The
unity is at its most explicit in the
High Court, considered the seat of forward caste power, and flaunting a
profusion of Brahminical sounding nameplates on its walls. From 2007, the Shuklas, the Tiwaris and the
Chaturvedis had all enthusiastically lined up behind behenji.
No opponent for every supporter
This time for every supporter of Ms
Mayawati, you will find another who admits to a correct judgment in his or her
voting the BSP in 2007. The latter
lot are happy that the BSP leader has not dumped the central plank of her
campaign that she would crush the anti-social elements who allegedly found
refuge in the Mulayam Singh government: All the lawmakers are now with her including Allahabad. The trading community in particular fully
digest the explanation offered by the BSP boss herself — once in the BSP, the
so-called goondas become reformed.
Within the precincts of the High
Court, the pro-Mayawati camps clinches the argument powerfully. The take: The
Mayawati government has given more recognition and power to Brahmins than have
all previous regimes put together: Our flag is flying high thanks to Satish
Chandra Mishra and the score of forward caste officers wielding power down the
administrative ladder. The fact that the BSP has awarded a bonus in the form of
party ticket to 20 Brahmins virtually seals the debate. Forward castes will
vote the BSP — everywhere, including where the party has fielded forward caste
Muslims turn out to be a revelation.
They descend into immediate benefit
calculations as do the Hindu forward castes but in conversation they gradually
reveal their frustrations with Mulayam Singh and wonder aloud if the BSP is not
a better option. The Samajwadi Party chief’s defence of Kalyan Singh, former
BJP leader, has hurt the community deeply, and there is a feeling of its being
used by the man it revered as Maulana Mulayam. The community voted the SP
disregarding the religion of its candidates. Today like most communities in
U.P., Muslims aspire for a higher Muslim representation in the Lok Sabha and
other legislative bodies.
And this is where the BSP, with its
fully transferable core vote, comes in. The BSP’s candidates, whether Muslim or
Brahmin or from the OBCs, start with a base vote of 18-20 per cent. To this
they add their own votes, which place them within conceivable reach of victory.
None of the BSP’s rivals can claim this advantage. The SP’s Muslim-Yadav core
constituency has developed fissures. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the
Congress have no loyal voters left to count on. Nor do their votes transfer
easily. It is well known, for instance, that there is not much compatibility
between the SP’s Yadav voters and its Muslim candidates. This is in fact a sore
point with Muslims. They have begun to understand the potency of the SC/STs
vote which goes where Ms Mayawati commands.
So how well can the BSP be expected
to fare? That pro-incumbency has set in is undeniable plus Ms Mayawati’s
strength is her committed base vote. In a four-way split of votes, this is a
strong foundation to build on.. That leaves the BSP with an absolute maximum 80
seats because of the brilliant performance of her government from the party’s
brilliant performance in the May 2007 Assembly election.
This is how Vidhya
Subramaniam will write after Mayawati becomes the Prime Minister after the Lok
Sabha election and the Hindu will
publish the same.
Now I am sure this
article will not be published in Hindu for
the reasons best known.
The BSP leader makes up in
On stage, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister is matter-of-fact and
precise, her no-nonsense, militarist manner a barrier to all, including
party functionaries and Ministers who wait on her as she furiously
heli-hops from meeting to meeting. For journalists on the election
beat, Ms. Mayawati is a vexing challenge. Forget cadging a lift on the
helicopter, they cannot even get within hand-shaking distance of the
overly security-conscious Bahujan Samaj Party supremo.
Ms. Mayawati’s mesmeric, star quality that brings lakhs to her election
rallies. They come in droves, young mothers with babies tucked under
their arms, old men and women barely able to walk, and tens of
thousands hitching a ride on tractors, buses and trucks. The BSP does
not pack its cadre into chartered buses; it does not tempt them with
offers of free food and per diem. It expects them to find their own way
to the rally venue. And they do so — uncomplainingly, wishing for
nothing except to be able to see her.
This election season, the mood is even more buoyant. With all the
buzz around her possible Prime Ministership, it is a colossal turnout
at the eastern UP town of Deoria, Ms. Mayawati’s first stop on UP’s
As a videographer with some experience in covering Ms. Mayawati’s
election campaigns and rallies, I know I have to be really early to beat the crowds
at the rally. Yet as always, they have already filled the venue to
overflowing, and many, many lakhs are still pouring in.I
remained stuck behind, as what seems like a human deluge takes over
every inch of road space. They hurry towards the pandal, the men and
women, kicking up giant clouds of dust.
The crowd composition is overwhelmingly rural: Women in nylon with
bright vermillion in their hair-parting; men in dhoti-kurta and
headgear. A good many of them carry the BSP’s trademark blue flag.
me the road stretches in an endless line of tractors. I try to get
there and join the human rush. The next half hour is a struggle
as I wave my pass and plead to be allowed to go to the press
enclosure. I fight my way through a sea of entwined limbs and by the
time I get to the spot I’m breathless with exhaustion. I look behind to
witness one of the largest turnouts I have seen at an election rally. I
catch the eye of a policeman on duty. “Kitni bheed?” (how
many people?”) I ask him. Lakhs, he says, grinning
unabashedly. “Historic. This is the biggest ever turnout in Deoria,” he
shouts at me.
Though the Chief Minister is yet to arrive, the excitement is
palpable on stage. Amidst earsplitting slogans, a cabinet minister
reads out a long list of people who have deserted other parties to join
the BSP. Another Minister urges the crowds to shout after him: “UP hui hamari hai, ab dilli ki baari hai; Bharat ki majboori hai, behen Mayawati zaroori hai”
(we have taken UP, we will take Delhi; the country needs Mayawati). It
is a Maya surge across the country and she will become Prime Minister,
declares speaker after speaker.
The Chief Minister’s arrival causes more commotion. The crowd rises
like a wave, and cell phone cameras click away her pictures. A Hindi
poet extols her virtues and sings: “Behna banegi PM, kehta hai zamana” (people
say our sister will be PM). Ms. Mayawati’s speech bristles with
references to Delhi and BSP rule at the Centre. But the tone is inspiring.
For her rapturous fans though what matters is that they have seen their behenji. “Ab Dilli ki bari hai” (it is Delhi’s turn), they shout, drowning out her speech.
A man carries a cutout of Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati in Allahabad,
India. (Photo: Reuters)
Jumbo And a Black Cat
. “Mayawati is the true inheritor of
is not a random comment at the region’s biggest university that caters
primarily to students from scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other
the region where B.R. Ambedkar long worked to improve education
standards in the community, brand Mayawati is now cutting much ice in
one of Maharashtra’s hubs of SC/ST student politics.
out to her constituency nationwide is crucial for the political
ambitions of Mayawati, who waill be India’s first Scheduled Caste prime
minister. She will establish her presence in Maharashtra with
Much luck here, though.
one-point agenda is power,” as the others nod in
agreement. “The BSP has full connect with Babasaheb’s philosophy when
her political mentor, Kanshi Ram, was alive and even Now. And it will be there forever.”
The moss-green wall of the canteen, where posters of the
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have pictures of Kanshi Ram, the late mentor
of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati.
“Maharashtra, UP and all the states are Jambudviapa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath,” says the THREE BASKETS STUDY CIRCLE. “SC/STs here and elsewhere have been a
part of the political process for a long time. Mayawati is just
perpetuating the caste structure. And her knack of agenda could actually
be a boon to SC/ST and Sarvajan politics.”
the Congress has benefited most from SC/STs vote, now it is the turn of BSP.
Mayawati’s party is confident of winning at least 24 of the
state’s Parliamentary seats — and is fielding candidates in all 48.
youth wing leader Sumit Waghmare (27), an MA student in political
science, says he is certain the social engineering formula will work in
Maharashtra as it did in UP.
“It has rattled the existing SC/ST leadership here.”
For some, there are more pressing issues than caste.Sarvajan Hitaya Sarvajan Sukhaya. That is happiness and welfare of the entire people.
The BSP has issued a comprehensive booklet to each of its candidates
in Uttar Pradesh (UP) listing the dos and don’ts. The Congress is set
to follow suit.
The highlight of the 12-page BSP booklet is the
specific directions candidates have been asked to strictly follow. The
party has told its candidates not to expect any favours from the local
“They will not help us during the elections,
because they are being strictly monitored by the commission, they have
to save their jobs.”
Similarly, the party has directed its
candidates not to get involved in disputes with the local
administration or the observers deputed by EC. “The observers are from
outside UP, where our party is still not very strong. Hence, most
observers have their sympathies with either the Congress or the BJP and
are likely to do the EC bidding.” Hence, the need to exercise extreme
The BSP has also asked its candidates and supporters
not to solicit votes in the name of caste or religion and not to use
elephants in their campaign. It wants workers to ensure all their
voters carry photo identity cards or ration cards to polling.