ISLAMABAD: A triangular contest is expected among the candidates of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the National Assembly (NA) constituency NA-58 Rawalpindi II of Tehsil Gujar Khan.
A total of 10 candidates are participating from NA 58 Rawalpindi-II constituency; however, the key participants and political parties from NA 58 are Choudhary Muhammad Azeem of PTI, Raja Muhammad Javaid Ikhlas of PML-N, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf of PPP, Mehmood Hussain Shariq of Muttahida Mujlis-e-Amal (MMA) and Muhammad Ramzan Awan of Tehreek-e-Labaik (TYL).
The NA-58 Rawalpindi II of Tehsil Gujar Khan covers Mandra, Jhangal, Daultala, Devy, Sukho, Gujar Khan, Guliana, Kuntrilla, Sayid Kasran, Qazian, Jatli and Kangar.
The Rajputs encompassing the Janjuas, Bhattis and Ghakars is the largest clan while the second largest biradari is of the Araeen Gujjars and the Awans, Jutts and Qureshis are also present in good number.
The total registered votes of the constituency are 327,734 of which male voters are 301652, while female is 629386 for which a total of 489 Polling stations have been set up including 96 male and 94 female, while there are 299 combines polling stations.
All the three parties rated their own candidates on a better position to win the 2018 general election, saying that they are burning the midnight oil to make their dream into reality.
Neutral observers also placed the three main candidates on the top; however, development works could benefit PPP’s candidate.
PML-N’s candidate Raja Javaid Ikhlas had won an NA seat in the 2013 election by defeating Raja Pervez Ashraf with a huge margin. He had secured 121,069 votes against Ashraf’s 67,146 votes, while Raja Farhat Faheem Bhatti of PTI bagged 39,842 votes.
In the 2008 elections, Ashraf secured 80,247 votes and won the seat while PML-N’s Muhammad Riaz got 56,381 votes and PML-Q’s Raja Javed Ikhlas bagged 69,690 votes.
Ikhlas is popular in the constituency because of his personal contacts with the public, however, this time around the situation may face an interesting turn of events since people of the constituency were not satisfied with his performance in the last five years.
It is believed that despite his party being in both the federal and provincial government, he failed to bring any mega projects to the area and this could drastically damage his vote bank.
Soon after winning the last general election, PML-N leadership including former Punjab chief minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and Raja Javed Ikhlas had promised to make Tehsil Gujar Khan a district, besides establishing a modern hospital in the tehsil; however, the former ruling party miserably failed to honour the promises.
On the other hand, despite PPP going through the worst time of its history, Pervaiz Ashraf was considered for a position in the constituency to secure one seat for his party as he brought several mega projects to the area during his short tenure of the premiership.
Raja Talat said that Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is in a better position since the people give him all the credit for the Mandar-Chawal road.
Raja Talat further said that during his short span of the premiership, Pervaiz Ashraf announced mega-projects such as Mandra-Chakwal Road, Sohawa-Chakwal Road, Mandra Gas Project by the utilisation of the prime minister’s discretionary funds. All such projects could play a decisive role in his victory from the constituency.
“Since 2013’s general election and the subsequent by-polls, PPP’s votes bank witnessed a drastic decline in the country’s largest province which is a worrisome factor for him,” Talat added.
However, on the other hand, several people believe that since the wind of change is blowing fast, it would have an impact in the constituency too.
PTI’s candidate Choudhary Muhammad Azeem was among the very few PTI candidates who was sure about his ticket hence, he started his electioneering a year ago. He is known in the locality for his massive welfare and charity works and could surprise his opponents in the upcoming election.