Islamabad - With the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) setting July 25, 2015 as the tentative date for the first-ever Local Bodies (LB) elections in the federal capital, the potential candidates have geared up to mobilise voters’ support by holding corner meetings with both unwaged and employed also finding a leisure pursuit.

At what is being considered as the start of the election-related activity, potential candidates are making efforts to muster support of the respective voters to the altitude that they could win the tag of a ‘unanimous candidate’ of the locals and corner meetings are a better tool in this regard.

According to a survey, selective like-minded youth and elders of the locality are invited by the candidate to a nearby tea stall or some open place and candidacy is put before the gathering with a hope that the invited voters endorse it and give a go-ahead to start a full-fledged election campaign.

Each candidate is posing that he holds the panacea for masses’ problems and that he is going to win the election come what may. Issues like poor power supply, dilapidated condition of roads, anti-encroachment drive and improper sanitation emerge as the main issues of the people as candidates seek their support in the upcoming elections.

The voters have been witnessed taking assurance from the candidates for redressal of their problems at the corner meetings.

Enthusiasm amongst youth has been witnessed more as compared to the elder ones as many of their age follows also intend to participate in the upcoming elections. Persuading getting momentum with each passing day as date for elections is drawing nearer.

On the other hand, the candidates have also started lobbying for getting tickets of what they believe the most popular parties.

As one moves down from E and F series towards G, H and I series of residential sectors of the city, the election-related interest amongst the voters gets increasingly higher, suggests the survey and interaction with the voters.

The reason is that the posh areas of the city have lesser civic problems as compared to the ‘CDA-ignored’ sectors — a factor that might have encouraged the masses to elect a person from within to get their problems resolved. Another factor is that people in posh areas do not tend to frequently interact with each other as compared to those living in less-developed areas which generally house people from low-income groups, the survey revealed.

Saqib Khan who is part of a corner meeting by a candidate for the chairman of Union Council 49 at sector G-7/1 was happy because he was going to experience LB election festivity for the first time like many other youngsters of the locality. “We have had always a bad experience with CDA when it comes to resolving issues as roads, sewerage but now I hope that these issues would be resolved more swiftly. We cannot approach MNA or the senator but we would have the access to the councillor and even the chairman of our union council,” he said as he referred to the upcoming local bodies elections in the city.

Nazar Ali, who was also part of the meeting, believed that with the local bodies in place, they will get the opportunity to get their problems resolved at local level. “The unemployed would get employment. The peoples’ grievances pertaining to poor road infrastructure, roof leakage etc would be resolved through the councilors — the people from within the community,” he said. He added that issues like poor power supply, dilapidated condition of roads, anti-encroachment drive and improper sanitation are the main issues that were told to the candidate at the corner meetings. There are 79 union councils in the federal capital and elections are likely to be held in the month of July.

On the other hand, the Islamabad local government bill is still pending in the parliament, leading to uncertainty viz-a-viz holding the local bodies election within stipulated time. Once the bill is passed, the electioneering process would get acceleration.