LAHORE - Out of total 141 National Assembly seats in Punjab, 52 constituencies lack either one or in some cases two candidates from the three major political parties.

Of these 52 constituencies, no PPP candidate is in the run from 39 constituencies while the PML-N could not find any candidate in 21 constituencies. PTI did not field candidates in eight constituencies but it has happened due to seat adjustment with the PML-Q and independent candidates.  

Final list of PML-N candidates from Punjab shows that Nawaz party had no candidate in NA-66 (Jhelum). PTI’s Farrakh Altaf is in the run from this constituency while the PPP has fielded a little known candidate Tasnim Nasir Gujjar. PTI’s candidate Farrukh Altaf stands better chance of victory from this constituency. In Sargodha division, PML-N is without any candidate on three National Assembly seats. They include NA-90 (Sargodha), NA-92 (Sargodha) and NA-98 (Bhakkar). From NA-90, PTI’s Dr Nadia Aziz and PPP’s Tasnim Ahmad Qureshi are in the run. Tasnim Qureshi remained member of National Assembly from 2002 to 2007 and from 2008 to 2013 on PPP ticket. He could not make it to the Assembly in 2013 elections. Dr Nadia has served two terms as member of Punjab Assembly from 2002 to 2007 and from 2013 to 2018. Previously associated with the PML-N, she joined the PTI in May 2016. A tough competition is expected between the two in this constituency.

PTI’s Sahibzada Naeemuddin Sialvi is most likely to win from NA-92 (Sargodha), as the PML-N and PPP have not fielded their candidates from this constituency though Muhammad Azhar Abbas of Tehreek-e-Labaik is also in the contest. Likewise, Dr Afzal Dhandla of the PTI might emerge victorious from NA-98 (Bhakkar) as no candidate from the PPP and the PML-N is in the run from this constituency. Hafiz Zulfiqar of Tehreek-e-Labaik is also a candidate on this seat but he is less likely to pose any danger to the PTI candidate.

No candidate from the PML-N is contesting from NA-101 (Faisalabad). In this way, the major contest is likely between Zulfiqar Zulqarnain Sahi of the PTI and Tariq Bajwa of the PPP as two candidates of Tahreek-e-Labaik and Allaho Akbar Tehreek may not be in a position to compete with them.

PML-N lost its two potential candidates from Jhang district quite recently. If Sheikh Waqas is contesting as an independent candidate, Ghulam BB Bharwana is contesting from the PTI platform. One of the National Assembly constituencies from Jhang, NA-114, is going to offer an interesting competition in the absence of PML-N candidate. A three-way contest is going to take place among Sahibzada Mahboob Sultan of the PTI, Makhdum Faisal Saleh Hayat of the PPP and Sheikh Waqas Akram, an independent candidate. These three candidates are equally strong and this seat may go to any of them.

In the absence of candidates from the PPP and the PML-N, Ghulam BB Bharwana remains the only potential contestant from NA-115 (Jhang) with only one player left in the competition. Muhammad Israrul Haq of Tehreek-e-Labaik does not seem to be a big challenger from this constituency.

Ameer Sultan of the PTI, contesting from NA-116 (Jhang), will have a smooth sailing since the PPP and the PML-N have not fielded any candidate to upset the man who can easily tackle Muhammad Ramzan of Tehreek-e-Labaik in this constituency.   

PML-N was left with no candidate from NA-154 (Multan) when its candidate Skindar Bosan opted to contest as an independent candidate after his failure to get PTI ticket. In the present situation, a three way contest is going to take place among Abdul Qadir Gilani, son of former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Ahmad Hussain Dehr of the PTI and Skindar Bosan. The latter was elected as MNA in 2013 elections and served as federal minister for food till May 31, 2018. A split of vote among these candidates may be beneficial for either of them.

PML-N also lost two of its candidates from NA-166 and NA-168 falling in Bahawalnagar district. Syed Muhammad Asghar and Fatima Tahir Cheema are poised to win from the two constituencies respectively as the PPP has fielded weak candidates. PPP’s Nazia Ayub and Abdul Majeed Jatala are no match to the PTI candidates. 

PML-N has also left NA-174 (Bahawalpur) vacant for the PTI and PPP candidates Samiul Hasan Gilani and Ali Hasan Gilani respectively. This seat may go to any of the two candidates.

Makhdum Khasro Baktiar of the PTI is set to challenge Makhdum Shahabuddin of the PPP from NA-177 (RY Khan) as PML-N is without a candidate from this constituency. PTI candidate has an edge over his opponent in this constituency because the popularity graph of Makhdum Shahabuddin is on the decline over the years. A two-way contest is likely between Raees Mahboob of the PTI and Makhdum Mustafa Mahmood of the PPP from NA-178 (R Y Khan) in the absence of a PML-N candidate. Mustafa Mahmood is son of former Punjab Governor Makhdum Ahmed Mehmood and is most likely to retain his ancestral seat. 

Sultan Mehmood Hanjra and Qasim Hanjra contesting from NA-181 (Muzaffargarh) and NA-182 (Muzaffargarh) respectively ditched the PML-N recently to run as independent candidates. They would be facing former Punjab Governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar and Tehmina Dasti of the PTI in their constituencies. PPP’s Ehsanul Haq Naulatia and Mehr Irshad Ahmad Sial are also in the run but their presence in the constituency is less likely to create any problem for the PTI candidates.

Muhammad Rafique Khar of the PTI is the only strong candidate in the contest from NA-183 (Muzaffargarh). No candidate from the PPP and the PML-N is in the race from this constituency except for Allah Bachaya of Tehreek-e-Labaik. The result is quite clear even before the election.

Likewise, PTI’s Moazzam Ali Khan is not facing any strong challenge from NA-185 Muzaffargarkh) with no PPP or PML-N candidate in the contest. Muhammad Masood of Tehreek-e-Labaik is the only candidate left in the race from this constituency.

Khawaja Sheraz Mahmood of PTI is heading for a sure victory from NA-199 (DG Khan) in the absence of any challenger from the PML-N. Khawaja Ataullah Taunsvi of the PPP is being considered a weak candidate from this constituency.

Three PML-N candidates from Rajanpur district -former Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly, Sher Ali Gorchani, Dr Hafeezur Rehman Dareshaq and Khizar Hussain Mazari returned their tickets to the PML-N the other day and decided to run as independent candidates from NA-193, NA-194 and NA-195 respectively. They are contesting against Sardar Jafar Leghari, Saradar Nasrullah Dareshak and Riaz Khan Mazari of the PTI respectively. An interesting contest is likely as all the candidates are equally strong from this remote district of Punjab. PPP has fielded Khawaja Kaleemuddin Koraja and Shazia Abid just to fulfill a formality.

PTI has not fielded any candidate in eight national constituencies as a result of seat- adjustment with the PML-Q and on seats from where Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Ejazul Haq and Mian Manzoor Watto are contesting elections. These constituencies include: NA-60 and NA-62 (Rawalpindi, NA-69 (Gujrat), NA-144 (Okara), NA-169 (Bahawalnagar) and NA-172 (Bahawalpur).

 

52 Punjab NA seats that lack one or two major players