PESHAWAR: The candidates running for various slots of the upcoming local government election in Mardan district have geared up their campaigns to seek the support of the electorate.
The candidates of the political parties and the independent ones have displayed their posters all over the city and the rural areas to woo the voters.
The electioneering has gathered steam as the countdown to the election has already begun.
Colourful flags, banners, posters and billboards have been displayed at roundabouts.
The candidates are holding corner meetings and rallies in the respective village and neighbourhood councils in a bid to convince the constituents to vote for them.
The candidates of the political parties compared performance of their previous governments and assured the voters to continue the welfare agenda but almost all the opposition and independent candidates were unanimous in criticising the sitting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
Though vocal in combating the opposition’s propaganda against the incumbent government, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporters faced difficulties in convincing the less educated people that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was not responsible for the skyrocketing inflation.
They enumerate the government’s uplift projects, which the PTI has launched for the welfare of people. The voters appreciated the government for the medical treatment facilities being provided to them through the health cards.
With strong party organisations and well-organised campaigns in Mardan, the Awami National Party (ANP) candidate for the slot of mayor Himayatullah Mayar is reported to have an edge over his political rivals.
Himayatullah Mayar, who has also served as District Nazim Mardan twice and remained as MNA from Mardan, where his party’s chief minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti completed remarkable development projects during his government.
The former chief minister is running an active campaign for his party’s candidates.
Out of the total 11 candidates for Tehsil Mardan Mayor slot, the PTI has nominated Lakhar Khan and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has allotted ticket to former naib nazim Asad Ali, Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUIF) has given party ticket to former MPA Amanat Shah while Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has fielded former Tehsil naib nazim, Mushtaq Seemab.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) has awarded ticket to Syed Inayat Shah Bacha Advocate. Former president of Mardan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Zahir Shah is contesting the election as an independent candidate.
A young Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf activist, scion of an influential family Kaleemullah Toru is also contesting as independent and has the support of the Nawabs of Mardan with vote-bank in the area.
Kaleemullah Toru is the president of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf , Sports and Culture wing of Mardan chapter and almost all the dissidents including powerful members of the Nawab family are supporting him.
MNA Shaheen Saifullah and Neelam Toru, who is coordinator of government Panahgah were also from Kaleemullah’s family.
The locals observed that he would definitely affect the PTI’s votes and that was why the supporters of the ruling party held a jirga to convince the young activist to withdraw his paper in favour of his party nominee but to no avail.
Jamaat-e-Islami candidate Mushtaq Seemab is running a spirited campaign than his opponents.
The JI organised party structure but the locals compared the previous elections results, saying the party had no sufficient votes to combat members of the other parties.
PPP’s candidate Asad Ali with weak party organisation could not even run his election campaign openly due to his personal enmity in the area. His supporters confessed their party had no proper organisation.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ’s Lakhar Khan, son of former Tehsil member, Mohmand Khan, will be facing resourceful opponents.