Unpredictable election results expected in Lahore as political bigwigs gear up


-NA-134 is Lahore’s most popular constituencies from where Shehbaz Sharif and Chaudhary Mansha Sandhu have chosen to contest 

Major battle on PP-165 where PTI’s Muhammad Yousaf has support of all Meo, Rajputs and Jutts.

LAHORE: Like the rising political temperature ahead of the general elections of 2018, National Assembly’s (NA) constituency NA-134 is presenting all electioneering colours where political heavyweights are expected to give a tough time to their opponents.

All major political parties are hopeful of winning this seat as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif is the field from this constituency whereas, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has fielded its seasoned politician Samina Khalid Ghurki and Mansha Sandhu of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is also eyeing victory.

After the new delimitations, more than 40 per cent of the electoral area of this very constituency is the same as the one previously included in NA-130.

The constituency consists of Lidher, Mota Singh Wala, Natha Singh Wala, Roadanwala, Karbath, Hair, thather, Thatha Khurd, Noor Pur, Gaga, Ghond, Jhamin, Road Nepal Bohigen, Lakhoky, Keerka, Sraich, Dhaloky, Aahiloo, Gajjumata, Kahna Nau, Basti Kachwana Kahna Nau, Pandoki, Badoki, Jhulkay, Khanokharni, Keet, Aasil Suleman, Khand, Aatoo Asil, Ladhykay, Jhalo, Qila Jeewan Singh, Nurwar, Dhori, Terda, Mandyala, Rakh Teda, Phularwan, Bangali, Barki, Burka, Pudri, Muhalla Khurd, Nathoki, Phadhana, Hadyara, Tiba Ghohawa Bhatta, Nayab Colony Bhatta Chowk, Khuda Buksh Colony Bhatta Chowk, Bhatta Kohar Badian, Air Avenue Phase-8 DHA, Malik Pura Cantt, Barki, Hadyara, Dhaphat, and Kahna Nau.

At least 306,100 voters are registered in this consistency. This figure consists of 185,263 men and 120,837 women. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has established 252 polling stations with a total of 981 booths; 393 for men and 288 for women over here.

As a major portion of the constituency is the same as NA-130 during the three previous general elections, it was considered as an area with the stronghold of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), however, in 2013 PPP lost this seat as its candidate Samina Khalid Ghurki was defeated by PML-N’s Sohail Shaukat. Ghurki had been elected from the same constituency in 2002 and 2008 previously.

At least thirteen candidates are contesting from this constituency including PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif, Chaudhary Mansha Sindhu of PTI, Samina Khalid Ghurki of PPP, Amjad Naeem of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), singer turned politician Jawad Ahmad of Barabri Party Pakistan (BPP), Haider Ali of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Muhammad Sajjad Hussain of All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), Muhammad Nawaz of TLI, Mian Arshad Ali of Jamhoori Wattan Party (JWP) and independent candidates  including Muhammad Tajjamil Hussain, Muhammad Ramzan, Chaudhry Shabbir Ahmad, Muhammad Adnan Khalid.

The constituency is among one of the popular constituencies in Lahore from where former chief minister (CM) Shehbaz Sharif and PTI’s Chaudhary Mansha Sandhu have chosen to contest.

Sandhu is facing Sharif for the second time. He had faced him during the 2013 general elections where he bagged 35,781 votes against 94,007 of Sharif’s on the NA-129 seat.

The major casts of the constituency are Meo, Rajput, Jutt and Arayen while Gujjar, Awan and other clans can also play their effective roles.

Despite fact that Shehbaz has served as Punjab chief minister twice, he will have to gain support from the PPP’s stronghold.

Moreover, the majority of people in this electoral area are Meo, who have announced their support for PTI.

Mansha has succeeded in gaining the support of Meo voters as PTI has selected Muhammad Haji Yousaf Meo for provincial assembly’s seat PP-165 that falls under NA-132. It has been witnessed in the past that the Meo vote bank remains decisive in the victory of any candidate in the surrounding constituencies of southern Lahore.

Being a native of the constituency, Samina is likely to attract PPP’s intact voters but she can hardly damage the voting bank of PML-N and PTI. However, a majority of Arayin voters will be putting their weight behind Samina.

There are two constituencies of the provincial assembly which fall under NA-132; PP-164 and PP-165 and interestingly Shehbaz Sharif is contesting for both seats.

For the PP-164 seat, at least 21 candidates are in the field including PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif, PTI’s Yousaf Ali, PPP’s Tahir Majeed, MMA’s Muhammad Nazir, TLP’s Maryam Azhar, TLI’s Chaudhary Zaheer-ud-Din while Ameer Ahmad, Chaudhary Sharafat Ali, Chaudhary Shafaqat Amin, Chaudhary Abdul Rehman, Chaudhary Ghulam Mustafa, Umar Farooq, Ghulam Zainul Abidin, Ghulam Muhammad, Muhammad Ahmad Akmal, Muhammad Athar Amin, Muhammad Riaz, Muhammad Ghazanfar Iqbal, Muhammad Kashif, and Muhammad Mushtaq are contesting as independent candidates.

The major candidates contesting from PP-164 are Shehbaz and Yousaf Ali. Between the two, Shehbaz is in a better position.

There are at least 17 candidates who will contest for the seat of PP-165 including PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif, PTI’s Muhammad Yousaf, PPP’s Abdul Samad Khan, TLP’s Amjad Naeem and other independents; Ahsan Nawaz, Iftikhar Ahmad, Hafiz Hamza, Sajid Amin, Zafar Ullah, Abdul Hameed, Ghulam Mustafa, Muhammad Ramzan, Muhammad Saleem, Muhammad Irfan, Nasir Javed Dogar, Nadeem Iqbal Pahat and Naveed Yousaf.

However, the major battle on this seat is expected between Shehbaz Sharif and Muhammad Yousaf. It is pertinent to mention here that Yousaf has the support of all Meo and Rajputs of the area while the Jutt clan too is backing PTI’s candidate.

Elders of the Meo clan as well as, influential personalities of the constituency, Ayub Meo and Chaudhary Ghafoor Meo are busy with door to door campaign for PTI.

Moreover, Ayub who has a strong group in the constituency and remained active in local politics has now become a diehard supporter of PTI. According to Ayub, this has become a matter of his clan’s ego to make PTI victorious.