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PML-N makes clean sweep, PPP faces whitewash

05 December, 2012

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LAHORE: Contrary to the tall claims of Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo of conquering Punjab, the Pakistan People's Party faced a whitewash in the by-polls, held on different seats of the Punjab Assembly, while the Pakistan Muslim League-N won two National Assembly and five provincial seats with big margins.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Q stood second, winning one seat in Narowal, where its candidate defeated his rivals, including the PML-N and independent contestants. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) backed independent candidate, Rai Hassan Nawaz, though lost the election yet secured nearly 65,000 votes against PML-N's Chaudhry Zahid Iqbal.

Till the filing of the report, PPP candidate contesting a provincial seat of Naushero Feroze (Sindh) was the only contestant who was winning.

However, in Punjab, the PPP faced a whitewash where its candidates lost with big margins in PP-92, PP-122 and NA-162 constituencies, losing these seats to the PML-N. Besides, the PML-N candidates also won from Jhelum where Nadeem Khadim, backed by PML-N, won comfortably and in PP-226, from where its candidate won as well.

This is noteworthy that most of by-elections were held in central Punjab where PPP appointed Mian Manzoor Wattoo a month ago. In his first speech, he had vowed to conquer Punjab. However, the PPP Punjab (centre) leadership failed miserably in this first test in which his party not only lost its own seat but also others as well. Its candidates lost with big margins, setting alarm bells ringing in the party circles, as the general elections are round the corner.

The by-elections were mostly held on the seats falling vacant in the areas or divisions of the incumbent PPP (centre) Punjab leadership. The seats of NA-107 (Gujrat) PP-92 (Gujranwala) PP-122, PP-129 (Sialkot) and PP-133 (Narowal) fall in Gujranwala Division, the area of General Secretary Punjab Tanveer Ashraf Kaira. Seats like NA-162, PP-226 fall in Sahiwal, a district adjacent to Okara, the home city of PPP (centre) Punjab President Mian Manzoor Wattoo. Unfortunately, PPP organisation remained unable to win a single seat in the Punjab by-election and lost even the one which was secured by it in 2008.

The only seat, PP-133, was won by PML-Q but more than organisation, it was the result of local alliances.

This is also important to note that performance of Mian Manzoor Wattoo as the head of Punjab chapter is not comparable to that of Imtiaz Safdar Warraich, the previous President, under whom the party won two important seats including NA-100, Gujranwala by-elections. However, the PPP camp holds a different opinion and believes that the new party organisation has not been working for long and it needs time to prove its abilities.

Among those who lost the election in the current phase of by-polls is also the Secretary Information of PPP Punjab (centre), Raja Amir who lost with a big margin in PP-122, Sialkot constituency, though the party claims that he had 'withdrawn' over rigging charges.

In the by-elections held on Tuesday, the toughest contest was witnessed in NA-162, Sahiwal on the seat where PML-N and PTI-backed candidate were major contestants.

In the 2008 elections, the said seat was won by PPP candidate Zahid Iqbal, who bagged nearly 70,000 votes. However, Zahid Iqbal vacated the seat in 2012 and joined the PML-N. He was pitched as PML-N candidate in the by-election and contested against PTI-backed independent candidate, former district nazim Rai Hassan Nawaz. PPP was in the run with Ali Fareed Kathia.

Zahid Iqbal won the by-election by bagging nearly 75,000 votes against Rai Hassan, who stood second with nearly 65,000 votes.

The PTI camp, however, termed the election results an indicator for the upcoming general elections in which Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate will defeat rivals.

Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed, former MPA and senior leader of PTI, while talking to our sources said the result of Chichawatni, Sahiwal, is even better than the PTI showed in Multan by-elections and it was obvious that candidates contesting on Tehreek-e-Insaf election symbol in the next polls would end the winning streak of other parties.

He said the use of state machinery and rigging tactics by the ruling party was obvious but in upcoming general elections, which would be held under a caretaker setup, a lot would change.

He said in Punjab, the PTI and PML-N contest is likely in the next elections and the result of this by-poll gives a message loud and clear about popularity of the PTI.

Another tough contest was witnessed in PP-133, Narowal on the seat vacated by PML-Q unification bloc head Dr Tahir Ali Javed. Dr Tahir had won the seat in 2002 and 2008 elections on PML-Q ticket. However, after 2008 elections, he changed his loyalty and supported Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the Punjab Assembly. He was also made head of the unification bloc in the Punjab Assembly, which was previously called forward bloc.

Dr Tahir had to quit the seat over dual nationality issue and the PML-N fielded Dr Naimat Ali Javed, father of Dr Tahir for this seat. However, PML-Q candidate Umar Sharif, an ally of the PPP, emerged victorious after a tough contest with Agha Ghias, an independent candidate backed by the group of Danyal Aziz, former MNA.

PML-N candidate Dr Ali Javed, till the filing of report, was at number three.

In Gujrat, the city of Chaudhrys, PML-N managed to clinch the seat of NA-107 once again where its candidate Hanif Awan won by-polls. Rehman Naseer, former PPP MNA, who later joined the PML-Q in Musharraf era, lost the election in a one sided match. PML-N candidate bagged nearly 100,000 votes whereas the PML-Q candidate, also backed by the PPP, got nearly 75,000 votes.

PP-92, Gujranwala was another seat where PPP, despite showing a very good show in 2008 elections, lost the 2012 by-polls with a big margin.

In 2008 elections, PML-N candidate Dr Ashraf Chohan won this seat after a neck-and-neck contest against former MPA of PPP Lala Shakeelur Rehman.

In 2008 elections, Dr Chohan, a former Q-Leaguer of 2002, won on PML-N ticket by getting 24,632 votes. PPP candidate Lala Shakeelur Rehman stood second with 23,892 votes and difference between winner and loser was of a few hundred votes.

In 2012 elections, however, when the seat fell vacant due to dual nationality issue of Dr Chohan, his brother Nazeer Chohan won with a margin of over 10,000 votes till the filing of report.

This is another interesting fact that the PPP Punjab organisation failed to mobilise voters and party chapter in the district during the by-elections.

On the seat of PP-122, the match was also one sided.

The PML-N also emerged victorious from a provincial constituency, PP-226, Sahiwal. This seat was vacated by PML-Q's Iqbal Langrial over a degree issue. From this seat, PML-N candidate Hanif Jutt has also won by getting over 40,000 votes and the PML-Q, PPP-backed candidate Nasim Langrial was at number two position till the filing of report with nearly 24,000 votes.

Election in PP-26, Jhelum also remained one sided from where PML-N backed Nadim Khadim, father of former PML-N MPA of this seat, Chaudhry Nadim Khadim won comfortably. Nadeem had to quit the seat over dual nationality issue and PML-N supported Nadeem Khadim who won against Raja Afzal, candidate backed by anti-PML-N alliance.

Mohsin Ashraf, the PML-N candidate and relative of former MPA from this seat Jameel Ashraf also won with a big margin against PML-Q and PPP backed candidate Ansar Iqbal Baryar. Ansar Baryar was elected as an MPA from this seat in 2002 but lost in 2008 polls. In 2008, Jameel Ashraf won this seat on PML-N ticket.

Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, the PML-N central leader, told our sources the by-election results were a prelude to the PML-N victory in the upcoming elections. Commenting over the Chichawatni elections, he said the candidate canvassing while displaying the portraits of Imran Khan was rejected and the PML-N won with a big margin.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif meanwhile congratulated the Pakistan Muslim League-N candidates on victory in the bye-elections. He said the marvellous success of PML-N candidates in bye-elections is reflective of the confidence of the people in the policies of PML-N.


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