–Neck and neck expected between PML-N, ruling PTI
–PTI ‘breaks’ promise of ticket to Waleed Iqbal, Abrarul Haq
–PML-N leadership expects positive impact of Nawaz, Maryam’s bail on polls
LAHORE: With the by-elections approaching, the political activities in various constituencies of Lahore have reached a new high. A similar situation has been observed in the NA-131 constituency, where political activities and campaigns have triggered with zeal and zest among the people and political leaders.
As per the details, a hard-hitting contest is anticipated between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) while the activities of other parties are in full swing as well.
The candidates contesting from NA-131 are Humayun Akhtar Khan from PTI, Khawaja Saad Rafique from PML-N and Asim Mehmood from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). All three are hopeful of conquering the embattled constituency.
In the July 25 general polls, PTI Chairman Imran Khan had contested against Khawaja Saad Rafique and won while bagging 84,313 votes. Saad had declared the polls as rigged and registered a complaint which had been rejected.
Before the establishment of new constituencies, NA-131 was NA-125. The total number of voters in NA-131 is 364,213, out of which 198,699 are male and 165,514 are female voters. The constituency covers areas of RA Bazar, Nishat Colony, Cavalry, Walton, Defence, Kamahan, Bedian Road, Airport, Bhatta Chowk and Chungi Amar Sadhu.
OF PTI’s ‘BROKEN PROMISES’:
Pakistan Today learnt that the grandson of Dr Allama Iqbal, Waleed Iqbal, had also desired to contest the elections from NA-131 on PTI’s ticket and had started campaigning in the area. His posters had been put up in the constituency as well, however, the PTI leadership ignored Waleed and gave the ticket to Humayun Akhtar Khan, who is the son of late General Akhtar Abdul Rehman.
Humayun Akhtar has recently joined PTI whereas his brother Haroon Akhtar is a senator of PML-N. According to sources, the NA-131 constituency is Humayun’s home ground and both the brothers have been winning from it in the past.
Moreover, a ticket to contest the polls from the constituency was also demanded by PTI’s Abrarul Haq, who had lost the general elections from Narowal, sources said. “Like Waleed Iqbal, Abrar had also been promised a ticket but later was asked to let Humayun contest the by-polls as it was his native area.”
A PTI leader said that Abrarul Haq did not show any grievances on the decision as he knew it was pre-planned but Waleed Iqbal, on the other hand, raised objections. “But the supporters of Waleed Iqbal cannot affect Humayun’s campaign as the latter’s popularity is way more,” they added.
‘POSITIVE IMPACT OF NAWAZ’S BAIL’:
Meanwhile, according to the PML-N leadership, the bail of party supremo Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz would also affect the results of the elections. “The voters of PML-N have stepped in with a new fervor,” they said.
Sources in PML-N told Pakistan Today that the seats of NA-131 and NA-124, which were left by Imran Khan from PTI and Hamza Shehbaz from PML-N, respectively, were very important for the party leadership at present.
They said that as the PTI-fielded candidate was “not strong enough” and internal disputes had also been reported within the rival party, there were chances for the PML-N to stand victorious. “This very approach is also the reason behind Khawaja Saad Rafique’s aggressive campaign in the constituency.”
Political analysts are of the view that one of the factors that can affect the vote bank of PTI in the by-polls is the “U-turn policy”, increase in taxes and inflation that has aggrieved the people.