Predict poll results in Maharashtra, win Rs 21 lakh!

On October 22, the electronic voting machines would not only reveal Maharashtra Assembly poll results but also the winner of another interesting contest -- between rationalists and astrologers.

The Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (Maharashtra Superstition Eradication Committee), which labels astrology as a "fraud", has invited astrologers to predict the results of the election and announced a Rs 21 lakh prize for the winner, if any.

The participating astrologers are required to obtain horoscopes of 10 candidates of their choice, and predict how many votes each would get and the victory margin in each case.

They would also have to predict party-wise break-up of seats in the new Assembly.

"Earlier, our deadline was October 12, but we have decided to extend it up to October 21," informed Samiti leader Dr Narendra Dabhokar.

"If the prediction is 80 per cent correct, it would be enough. But the astrologer must also explain the scientific reasoning behind the prediction," Dabhokar said.

ANS has organised such a contest for the first time, though in the past, it had challenged astrologers to prove their predictions on several occasions.

"This is not a stunt," Dabholkar said. "We want to prove that astrology has no scientific basis, especially since the year is being celebrated as International Year of Astronomy, and many people equate astrology with astronomy."

"We believe that astrology encourages fatalism, so we want to discredit it," he added. Till now, ANS has received 40 entries from across the state.

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