Pakistan Observer

Politicking in Mandi Bahauddin

Sher Gondal

Sunday, January 06, 2013 - Mandi Bahauddin—Mandi Bahauddin district has two National Assembly and five Provincial Assembly constituencies. They are NA-108, NA-109, and PP-116, 117, 118, 119 and 120. In NA-108 and its corresponding PP-116, 117 and 120 different tribes reside. Politically strong and dominating clans are Tarar, Warraich, Gondal, Ranjha, Rajas, Gujar, Bhatti, Raan, Sahi, Kadhar and other several jat bradries.

In addition to that there are considerable large population of Muhajir baradri residing in Mandi city and they are mostly business community. They form 33% of the population of Mandi city and adding Muhajir living in suburban villages. They have strong vote bank in PP-116. Majority of them are part of PML-N with their leaders Devan Mushtaq and Hameeda Waheed. Some of them are affiliated with PPP and their leader is Devan Shameem who is also District president PPP. Mainstream political parties like PPP and PML-N have large following and people’s affiliation with these parties are very strong. No one from these constituencies is in a position to win any seat independently. The PML-N, PPP and PML-Q have lobbies almost in every village and are deeply rooted in the public. Their local leaders also play a great role to win sympathies of the people by sharing their sorrow and joy. They help them to get relief from local administration when in trouble.

In 2002 when PML-Q was backed by Gen Musharraf, some local leaders along with their followers changed their affiliations and joined PML-Q. This helped PML-Q to win seat of NA-108 and its corresponding seats of PP-116, 117 and 120. During election 2002, PML-Q launched Ijaz Chaudhry as its candidate who won the seat bagging 70,060 votes. Zufrullah Tarar of PPPP was runner-up with 60,424 votes. Syed Muhammad Mahfooz Mashhadi contested election on the ticket of Muttahidda Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan and obtained third position with 37,422 votes.

There was no candidate from PML-N in this constituency. Similarly Hameeda Waheed of PML-Q was candidate in PP-116 who won the seat securing 33,122 votes. Safia Begum zoja Devan Mushtaq contested election on PML-N ticket and was second with 14,942 votes. Ch Muhammad Aslam of PPPP was placed at third position that got 14,365 votes. Ch Riaz Asghar, PML-Q, was the candidate for PP-117 who secured 34,465 votes and won the seat. Asad Ali Ranjha of PPPP came second securing 31,019. Muhammad Bashir Qazi, MMAP, secured 10,066 and was third in the contest. Muhammad Arif Chhimoana of PML-Q contested election for PP-120 and won the seat with 20,323 while Ahmed Faraz Mangat of PPPP secured 19,536 votes and was runner up. Muhammad Akram Gondal of PML-N was third bagging 12,703 votes.

In 2008 elections Tariq Tarar of PPPP was the candidate for the NA-108 seat who won it securing 73,951 votes while his rival Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry contested election as an independent candidate and secured 67,769 votes. Mumtaz Tarar, a candidate from PML-N, withdrew his candidature in favour of Ijaz and PML-N supported Ijaz during election campaign to defeat PPPP candidate Tariq Tarar but failed to do so. Zafrullah Tarar of PML-Q was third with 39,789.

According to PP-116 results, Tariq Sahi of PPPP won the seat bagging 27,403 votes while Faiza Mushtaq, daughter of Devan Mushtaq, PMLN, was second with 22,799 votes. Hameeda Waheed of PMLQ got 19,338 votes and acieved third position. Similarly PP-117 seat was won by Asif Bashir Bhagat of PPPP with 30,627 votes. Basma Chaudhry of PML-Q secured 28,803 and came second. Syed Tariq Yaqoob PML-N was third with 21,682 votes. Tariq Mahmood Aloana of PPPP contested PP-120 seat and got it with 31,029. His rivals Muhammed Arif Gondal Chhimoana of PMLQ and Ghulam Rasul Gondal of PML-N secured 21,854 and 14,621 respectively.

Political parties’ local leaders and workers have been activated after President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to Malikwal. The PPP vote bank is strengthened by Nazar Gondal, Federal Minister, MNA Tariq Tarar by helping educated youth to get jobs in various government departments. Parents and relatives of such youth feel obliged to PPP and because of this favour they surely will add strength to PPP. Benazir Bhutto Income support Programme scheme and Education Scheme is another factor that has created a positive impact on down-trodden and indigents. Thousands of people in this district have benefitted from these schemes and they will definitely vote for PPP in the upcoming elections.

Regarding PPP candidates in 2013 election for NA-108 and its corresponding three provincial assembly constituencies, so far nothing is known. However, it is expected that Tariq Tarar would be nominated to contest for NA-108. In PP-116 Tariq Sahi and Hassan Aslam are aspiring to get ticket. In PP-117 Asif Bhaghat is expected as nominee. Basma Chaudhry is also keen to contest election on PML-Q seat in case alliance between PML-Q and PPP continued. For seat of pp-120 Tariq Aloana is expecting to be PPP candidate.

If PPP and PML-Q as allies adjust seats in this district victory in coming elections is sure for them. PML-N would have problem in nominating candidates. Mumtaz Tarar and Ijaz Chaudhry are trying to get ticket for NA-108 seat. Similarly there is competition between Devan Mushtaq and Hameeda Waheed for getting ticket for the seat of PP-116. For PP-120 seat, again there two aspirants Arshad Kakko and Akram Gondal. Syed Tariq would get ticket for PP-117. PTI leaders and workers are working hard to increase membership of the party. Prominent among them are Shahid Ranjha and Falik Sher Ranjha. They have yet to go long way to reach a position where they could compete with mainstream parties. JI has also increased its ‘contact with the people campaign’, and it has nominated candidates for NA-108, PP-116 and PP-117. Farooq Riaz Sahi would contest election for NA-108 whereas Ihsan Sahi and Sufi Riaz Warraich would fight election for PP-116 and 117 respectively. Riaz Warraich is a social worker and has gathered a considerable number of farmers on the platform of Kissan Board. He is likely to give tough time to its rivals during election.

Other political parties including MQM, Tameer-e-Pakistan, Mustaqbil Pakistan, JUI, Minhaj ul Quran and Awami Workers Party have elements in the district. But they are not that strong to succeed in election. Syed Mahfooz Mashdi has strong following and in the past elections he secured considerable number of votes. He is very close to Nawaz Sharif. There is likelihood that he would ally with PML-N and contest election for PP-120.

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