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Wary of pollsters, Indians draw election tips from illegal bookies

Published on Mar 24, 2014 1:20 PM

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - Despite India's prohibitions on gambling, anyone keen to bet on who will be the next occupant of the prime minister's residence at 7, Race Course Road can call a closely guarded phone number, or find the right doorway in a city backstreet.

The world's largest democracy goes to the ballot box next month. Election results are typically hard to call, and formal opinion polls have a patchy record in gauging voter trends.

Though the country's illegal bookies use little more than intuition to set the odds, some election candidates check what the illicit betting market, known as the satta market, says about their chances when they are out on the campaign trail.

"I feel that it can be relied upon more than opinion polls," Lalji Tandon, an opposition lawmaker in the northern city of Lucknow, told Reuters. "The fluctuations in the satta market paint a better picture of the mood of voters."

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