MULTAN: The NA-154 constituency of Multan, formerly known as NA-151, has become a tough constituency among all six constituencies in the district with three heavyweights flexing their muscles and appearing confident to win.
The contenders include former federal minister Sikandar Hayat Bosan who is contesting the election as an independent this time and carries a good record of victories in this constituency. He won the 2013 general elections as a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) nominee by a big margin.
The other contender is a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) nominee Syed Abdul Qadir Gilani, the son of former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. The third contender is former MPA Ahmad Hassan Dehar, a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate.
The three heavyweights are going neck and neck in the electoral race and seem to be on equal footing against each other and all of them claiming sure victory’ as the historic balloting draws nearer.
Comprising most of the rural areas, the constituency is registered with 385,233 voters out of whom 280,008 are men and 177,225 women. The constituency had earlier crowned bigwigs, including PPP stalwart Yusuf Raza Gilani and Sikandar Hayat Bosan, in probably all past general elections.
This time, the junior Gilani is gearing up to give a tough time to Sikandar Bosan who was dropped in the last moments for the PTI ticket as PTI Chairman Imran Khan chose to award the ticket to Ahmad Hassan Dehar. Dehar says that he is ready to smash both of his rivals by claiming ‘big victory’ from the PTI platform.
Talking to APP, Dehar said that Sikandar Bosan had put a full stop on his career and that he would be able to defeat the other opponent Syed Abdul Qadir Gilani.
In 2008, Yusuf Raza Gilani had won the election from this constituency and later ascended to become the prime minister. After his disqualification, it was Gilani’s son Abdul Qadir, who won the by-elections from the constituency. Junior Gilani emerged as the winner with 64,364 votes, leaving behind Sikandar Bosan’s younger brother Shoukat Bosan as runner-up with 60,779 votes.
The 2013 elections, however, brought success for Sikandar Bosan as a PML-N nominee, breaking all previous record by taking 96,159 votes against 57,168 votes polled for PPP’s Qadir Gilani and 39,604 votes for Suleman Qureshi, then a PTI candidate.
Suleman Qureshi is now contesting from the PML-N platform. His performance as a newcomer in 2013 was discussed among political circles when he bagged over 39,000 votes as PTI nominee against PPP’s Abdul Qadir Gilani and PML-N’s Sikandar Bosan from this constituency.
Both Abdul Qadir Gilani and Suleman Qureshi have been campaigning on the ground of development work their parties brought about in Multan in their respective tenures.
Abdul Qadir Gilani explains reasons for his defeat in 2013, “The PPP’s leadership Asif Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari were out of the country, while my father got disqualified but now the situation is different.”
Younger Gilani considers Sikandar Bosan (independent) as his main rival. “It doesn’t matter if he is contesting as an independent,” he said.
For Ahmad Hussain Dehar, the slogan of change is expected to bring people in larger number to extend support to him as a PTI nominee. Dehar said that people were not happy with PML-N and added that PPP nominee Abdul Qadir Gilani was his main rival.
However, neutral analysts are not ruling out the importance of slow and steady campaign’ of Sikandar Bosan, who has mustered up the support of a majority of local community leaders who had won the local bodies elections as UC chairman and vice chairman.
Bosan said that he was more confident now as an independent candidate compared to the 2013 elections which he had won as PML-N nominee by a big margin. He said that people are more responsive this time. He said that he is quite in hope to clinch victory with a margin of about thirty thousand votes, all because of his working and serving the people for all the time of his life.
However, castes including Maliks, Baloch, Sewra, Bosan, Mahay, Siddiqui, Shajra and others would also play a role in deciding the contest in NA-154.