Punters favour Pranab for prez

The betting market is hotly ‘contesting’ the forthcoming presidential elections with an estimated Rs 800 crore at stake over the next head of state. Soon after the Election Commission announced the schedule for the presidential elections, the betting mafia opened its doors for punters to place their bets on the next incumbent of Rashtrapati Bhavan. According to current indications available from betting circles, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is the top favourite, commanding a figure of 50 paisa per rupee. It means if one bets a rupee on Mukherjee, he would win Re 1.50.

Pranab Mukherjee

In fact, before West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee openly opposed Mukherjee’s candidature, his name quoted 25 paise per rupee. Despite being in a strategic position, Vice President Hamid Ansari’s chances appear bleak at Rs 12, while former president APJ Abdul Kalam at Rs 8, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Rs 6.50 stand a better chance, according to punters.

Interestingly former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee seems to have the remotest chance of occupying the Rashtrapati Bhavan, as he is pitched at Rs 18. The figures — both of the total amount at stake and the individual contenders — are expected to significantly change as the names of official candidates of both the ruling UPA and the opposition NDA as well as any third group are announced in the next few days.

When asked the reason why Mukherjee is the hot favourite, a source said, “His name has come from none other but the Congress High Command. Despite the clamor after Mamata’s rejection, he would emerge victorious because it would be a three way contest and the votes would get split.”  Another source said that Mukherjee might get support from the leaders of Left parties, as he enjoys a good rapport with them. 

Didi: Kalam best candidate for prez
APJ Abdul Kalam is the TMC’ first choice and the “best candidate” for president, Mamata Banerjee announced yesterday. “We want consensus on Kalam,” she said. She added that she will not go back on the names she and Mulayam Singh Yadav had proposed on Wednesday.

Mamata dares Cong to snap ties
TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said she would not attend the UPA meeting on the presidential poll and dared the Congress to sever ties with her, if it so wanted. “I have not left, if they want me to leave then it is for the UPA to take a call. We don’t want to topple the government. The ball is in the Congress’s court,” she said. Annoyed with the Congress over the rejection of three names, she said that if any threats were made to her, she would respond to them appropriately. “We don’t give threats to any one nor do we take threats.” 

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