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October 31, 2015
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PML-N has advantage over PTI in Samanabad Town

Lahore

October 31, 2015

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LAHORE
The momentum gained by PML-N in Samanabad Town during the aggressive campaign and victory in NA 122 is carrying forward and the party seems to have a slight advantage over PTI, while PPP might surprise its critics with its share in this town.
There are 31 Union Councils (UC) in the Samanabad Town, which include the entire Samanabad with parts of Gulshan Ravi, Gulgasht Colony, Islamiya Park, Pir Ghazi Road, Zubaida Park Sabzazar, Sodhiwal, Dholanwal, Jafriya Colony, Shalimar Colony and Babu Sahbu.
UC 107 Pakki Tthatti is already decided as Khwaja Ahmed Hassan and Jaffer Ali of PML-N have virtually won unopposed.
The competition in UC 91 is expected to be fierce. Falling under PA 148, currently held by PTI, the UC was the centre of campaign activity in the NA 122 by-polls, the area has been a PML-N vs PTI battleground since 2013 elections.
It’s a tough fight, said Amir Farooq, the PML-N candidate contesting for the post of chairman. This is more or less now becoming a competition of money versus party loyalty because of the massive amount of funds pumped in by the PTI, he alleged. Amir and his running-mate Mohammad Hashim are contesting against Mohammad Jahangir and Sajjad Durrani from PTI.
Amir was not entirely incorrect in pointing the growing trend of insane spending on electioneering in the provincial metropolis. According to a conservative estimate, this year’s UC election on average cost the candidates Rs1 million. A UC is one-tenth of a provincial assembly constituency and the ECP’s upper spending limit for a Provincial Assembly election is Rs1 million.
More than one candidate contesting for the post of chairman shared their plight of the increasing expenditures and said that there seemingly is no way out. “The party fund is next to nothing and election, even on the lowest tier is becoming the hegemony of the rich”, said a contestant from Gulshan Ravi.
A visible difference regarding the main parties in

contention, PTI and PML-N, is that PML-N already has candidates who have had experience of contesting in UC elections while it is a new ball game. A typical example of this is UC 83 where Mian Mohammad Tariq is a seasoned politician especially in the UC domain and has contested twice before and won. However, the general vibe in UC 83 is that PTI’s Yasir Ayub and Mian Ishfaq are going to give Mian Tariq and Mohammad Iqbal Khan a run for his money and might even upset the trend. In UC 90 Amjad Khan Niazi and Hafiz Zeeshan of PTI seem to have a slight edge over Chaudhry Mushtaq and Bilal Butt of PML-N. Amjad Khan is the brother of Arshad Khan Niazi of the Niazi Transport Group. Another family member of the Niazi clan, Yassir Khan Niazi is contesting as a running-mate of Chaudhry Mohammad Afzal under the PML-N banner in UC 94 Tariq Colony Sodiwal. Both UCs are conjugate and it is going to be an interesting scenario to monitor who if the clan support supersedes party politics.
Ataullah/Mohammad Ishaq of PML-N, Haneef Siddique/Riaz Butt of PTI and Riaz Ali Jutt/Mehr Ishtiaq are going to fight it out in UC 86 where the politics of clan is a major factor. In his constituency, the competition between all three parties could go either way.
Another disturbing factor noticed during the survey was the increasing political apathy among general public. With the political hyperactivity in the country and repeated elections, a significant minority if not a majority, expressed utter disinterest in the elections. Not only were they not interested in polling their vote, but their faith in the deliverance of the political system was unsettling. “Doesn’t really matter whatever happens in these elections, its not like anyone is going to cut taxes and the insane profits being earned by moochers. No matter who wins, the people of this country always lose the elections”, said Qasim, a shopkeeper in UC 101 Kot Kamboh.
Moving northwest into the Samanabad Town into Gulshan Ravi, PML-N seemed to have a clear edge in both UC 77 and 78. Amir Shah/Khalil-ur-Rahman and Iqbal Dogar/Furqan Mansha of PML-N are in a stronger position than Mian Zahid/Ali Baig and Suleman Daud and Adil Khan of PTI. Candidate for general councillors Hameeduddin (Goshi) said that the people are happy with the performance of the PML-N government and there is no reason why they won't vote them into power.
UC 104 Jafriya Colony is another tough battle between all three parties where Malik Arif/Haider Zaidi of PPP, Ch Mubarak/Babar Hussain of PTI and Shahzad Azam/Javed Iqbal of PML-N are likely to deliver a nail biter. Although critics have already ruled PPP out of any political competition in Punjab and Lahore specifically, there is a high likelihood of PPP at least bagging somewhere between seven to 10 percent of the 31 UCs in the Samanabad Town. “UC elections have completely different dynamics, it is about the personal liaison of candidate with the people and how sympathetic and instrumental he/she is in times of need to the people”, said Zaheer Ahmed Nagra, contesting for Chairman as PPP candidate in UC 102 Jhuggyan Nagra. The PPP presence in the area was surprising to say the least.
Similarly, Malik Mushtaq Yusuf/Zeeshan Jutt of PPP contesting against Mian Basharat Ali/ Haji Shaukat of PML-N and Zulfiqar Ahmed/Mehr Iftikhar of PTI, have a significant chance of getting the Chairman seat in UC 101 Kot Kamboh.
It was rather disappointing to notice that not a single female candidate was trusted with the ticket for the position of Chairman/Vice-Chairman by any of the political parties in the Samanabad Town.

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