LG elections not inspiring high hopes

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While political parties have jumped with both feet into the political fray to contest the local government elections, most of the people are still on the fence about whether the local government representatives would have the will and the capacity to bring about a change in their lives.

Missing public facilities, spiraling utility bills and rising cost of education are some of the concerns people are facing but they have no idea if voting in the local government elections would change the situation for them in any way, it was revealed in a survey conducted by Pakistan Today.

Most of the voters would be voting along party lines or their caste affiliations, as is the routine in the local government elections. Voters say they are being constantly hassled in this regard by the candidates on every side. But notwithstanding the ambition of the candidates, voters believe it’s unlikely they would be able to solve any problems.

During the survey, it was revealed that sewerage systems of many areas in the city including Bhati Gate, Shadman, Dharmpura, Garhi Shahu, Samanabad, Mozang, Rehmanpura and Ichhra is not working properly causing the water to overflow on the roads and in some cases stagnate in ponds. So, citizens not only have to carry on with their day passing through dirty sewerage water, but then they have to worry about it spreading diseases in their areas.

Citizens of these areas say they have elected their MNAs and MPAs in the general elections and if the MPs haven’t paid any attention to their woes, what hope did they have of getting their problems redressed through local government representatives?

On the other hand, people believe that Nazims were given sufficient funds during Musharraf’s era and the funds did get spent on the basic facilities for people. However, the good example set during that period was not followed later.

Voters and supporters of both PLMN and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf have claimed that the parties are offering money to voters for their votes in the LG elections. A resident of Samanabad area said that the PTI candidate for the chairman’s slot in the area was offering 40,000 rupees or a motorcycle for six to eight votes of a household. There have been other reports of quid pro quo politics by candidates in the local government elections.

Private schools’ fee hikes is another problem that the people believe the government has abdicated its responsibility on. Even third-rate private schools charge Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 for children in primary grades, but since government schools are either missing, or significantly worse, most people have no option but to sent their children to private schools even if they have to skimp on other essentials. Voters also feel let down on load shedding by the government as they still have to face long hours in the dark despite a change in the weather.

If people do not warm up to the elections and continue believing that their problems cannot be addressed through local government elections, it would make it even easier for bad actors to be elected through the local government elections. This would turn the whole thing into a cycle of dysfunction which only leaves the common people worse off than before.