Neck and neck fight likely between PML-N, PPP in NA-108
Ijaz Ch quits PML-N over ticket issue, to contest as independent candidate
From Ghulam Murtaza
MANDI BAHAUDDIN: A neck and neck contest is expected between the PPP and the PML-N in NA-108.
Mandi Bahauddin, a district which was upgraded in 1993, consists of two National and four Punjab Assembly seats. NA-108, which was earlier NA-83, consists of 425,088 registered voters, including 180,965 females. As many as 27 candidates have been cleared after the scrutiny of nomination papers. The PPP has fielded former MNA Muhammad Tariq Tarar, while Mumtaz Tarar is the PML-N candidate. Mumtaz enjoys good reputation in the constituency, but PPP’s Tariq Tarar and PTI’s Zafar Tarar are expected to divide the vote bank of the Tarar family. Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, who has been refused the PML-N ticket, belongs to the Gujjar family which has a big vote bank in the constituency.
Addressing a public meeting at his Public Secretariat on Wednesday, Ijaz Ahmed Ch announced to quit the PML-N and contest the polls as an independent candidate. Meanwhile, PML-N Youth Wing district secretary Amjad Ali Butt and Phalia vice-president Aslam Qureshi also announced to quit the party.
Riaz Farooq Sahi of the Jamaat-e-Islami, former district nazim Riaz Asghar Warraich of the PML-Q and Zafarullah Tarar are other prominent candidates. Riaz Farooq Sahi enjoys good reputation in the constituency. He has served as Overseas Pakistanis Association Dubai president for two terms. He also remained the Dhok Kasib UC nazim. He could be a dark horse if he contests the elections as a joint candidate of the PML-N and JI after seat adjustment. Riaz Asghar Ch, a close relative of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, failed in increasing his vote bank despite being the district nazim. Former MNA Zafarullah Tarar of the PTI is not being considered a strong candidate as he deserted the PPP and first joined the PML-Q and then the PTI.
In the 2008 elections, PPP’s Muhammad Tariq Tarar won the seat with 73,713 votes, while his rival Ijaz Ahmed Ch of the PML-N secured 68,006 votes. Zafarullah Tarar of the PML-Q got 39,789 votes. In the 2002 elections, Ijaz Ahmed Ch of the PML-Q was the victorious with 70,020 votes, while Zafarullah Tarar of the PPP got 60393 votes. Allama Mehfooz Mashadi of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal secured 37,358 votes. In 1997, Mumtaz Tarar of the IJI got 64,233 votes while Zafarullah Tarar of the PPP could secure only 35104 votes. In the 1993 polls, PPP’s Zafarullah Tarar got 67,154 votes, while his opponent Mian Waheeduddin of the IJI secured 41,423 votes. In 1990, IJI’s Ch Nasir Iqbal won the seat with 62,788 votes, while Zafarullah Tarar of the PDA got 52,881 votes. In the 1988 polls, Mumtaz Ahmed Tarar of the PPP had defeated Ch Muhammad Iqbal by 9,681 votes.