Mandya: It's a high profile constituency where the Chief Minister's son is up against some formidable challenge from the late popular actor- turned- politician, M H Ambareesh's wife, Sumalatha. So keen is the interest in the outcome of the poll in Mandya that a day after it recorded a whopping 80.23 per cent turnout, betting is rampant across the district over who the winner is likely to be.
The bets are said to range from Rs 3,000 to Rs 30 lakh, and people are reportedly even willing to bet on their farmlands, plots, houses, two wheelers and cars.
The favourite appears to be Ms Sumalatha Ambareesh, the independent candidate in the constituency and not Mr Nikhil Kumaraswamy, hoping to make his political debut this Lok Sabha poll.
The betting buffs are calculating booth-wise polling and also taking the number of votes polled in each village to decide whom to back. The gambling is so secret and confined to a close ring of people that even the police has a hard time tracking it.
Although common during every election, the betting this time has crossed all limits considering the interest the contest has generated in Mandya. “Nikhil would have had a cakewalk had any candidate other than Ms Sumalatha contested against him. Now it has a become a high voltage contest owing to her presence,” say observers..
Going by sources, the betting is higher in Mandya's villages than in it towns and the city.
In fact, there are unconfirmed reports about heavy betting on the Mandya result, even in Bengaluru, Mysuru and Mumbai. It's believed the betting could intensify from the first week of May in anticipation of the results on the 23rd of that month. Even today the Mandya election is a hot topic of discussion in bars and restaurants in the district especially with two leading actors of the Kannada film industry, Darshan Tugudeepa and Yash campaigning for Ms Sumalatha.