LAHORE - PTI candidate gave a tough time to the ruling party contender in the bye-polls of PP-81, as the tsunami of Imran Khan had little role in getting sizeable vote for his candidate.
As the unofficial results of the PP-81 (Jhang) strongly hinted at the strong comeback of Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat on the canvas of Jhang and Chiniot politics who devised a smart electoral strategy which assisted the PTI candidate to give a tough competition to the PML-N contender.
While, the arch political rival of Makhdoom Faisal (Custodian of Shah Jewana), Syeda Abida Hussain apparently lost more support in the bye-elections of PP-81 as she couldn’t play an effective role to grab sizeable votes for PML-N candidate to whom she was backing.
The campaign managers of ruling party’s candidate, Muhammad Khan Baloch sharing their assessments concerning the vote for Taimur Bhatti, PTI candidate in PP-81 with this correspondent on Tuesday, said, “We expect that Taimur Bhatti would be able to get not more than 28,000 ballots and their candidate Muhammad Khan Baloch would grab the win with a margin of not less than 25,000 votes. But eleventh hour announcement of Bhatti clan’s nearly 80 percent support to Taimur and joining of some Abida groups with Makhdom Faisal has given a big jolt to ruling party contender, however, despite all the odds we won the bye-polls with a margin of more than 5,500 votes.”
They claimed: The PTI candidate has given an unexpected competition to their contender.
According to the results of 2013 general elections in PP-81, PML-N’s Iftikhar Baloch secured 41,700 votes, Syed Mohammad Abbas Shah, an independent candidate bagged 35,936 and became runner up, while Ghulam Ahmad Khan Gadi, another independent candidate bagged 28,566 votes, while PTI’s Asghar Ali Gujar secured only 820 votes.
The 2013 general polls clearly depicts the true picture of PTI’s position in this constituency which shows that political parties impact little on rural elections.
The vote difference between the winning ruling party candidate and the runner up independent contender was of 5,764 ballots.
While the results of bye-polls shows that Abida Hussain, Lali and Baloch camp lost more support as PML-N candidate Muhammad Khan Baloch won the by-election by securing 51,251 votes against his rival PTI candidate Taimur Bhatti who bagged 45,629 votes and the difference was of 5,622 votes.
With the might of official resources with them and notable groups switching to ruling party, Abida and her allies should have grabbed the victory at least with the lead of more than 15,000 ballots.
Gujjar is a migrated resident in PP-81 and enjoyed no support of local indigenous groups and at the same he had no support among the settler clans which were divided between different local political groups.
On the other hand, Abbas Shah, Ghulam Ahmed Gadi were not only locals but also had two to three local influential groups on their side, besides the vote bank of their clansmen.
The real story of PP-81 bye-polls was that PTI had no strong local candidate at their disposal when the seat became vacant with the disqualification of PML-N MPA Iftikhar Baloch in a fake degree case.
Taimur Bhatti was to be fielded as an independent candidate from the camp of Makhdom Faisal Saleh Hayat and in fact Imran approached Makhdom to get his support which paved the way to field Bhatti as a PTI candidate.
Muhammad Khan Baloch, the winning candidate affiliated with PML-N, is the uncle of de-seated MPA Iftikhar Baloch who secured the support of Syeda Abida Hussain for PML-N candidate at a meeting with Hamza Shahbaz Sharif. Hamza had toured PP-81 during the election campaign.
The Lalis under the command of Riaz Lali, some groups of Syeds of Ratta under Muhammad Abbas Shah, Balochs and some groups of Gadi clan and members of Bhatti clan, prominently leading the House of Thatta Umra had also supporting the ruling party candidate.
On the other hand, Makhdom Faisal spearheaded an aggressive strategy for Taimur Bhatti by bringing around 80 percent vote bank on the side of Taimur Bhatti. Taimur clansmen who were in the habit of pursuing bloody feuds with each other for the first time announced support in such a percentage for their own clansman.
A members of the Bhatti clan talking to this scribe said that Taimur definitely be the winner if the entire members of his clan, Syeds of Ratta and Gadi clansmen had supported him and even the rigging of the ruling party could not snatch victory from him.
He endorsed the point that PTI had no role in the tough competition of Taimur Bhatti.
Similarly, the ruling party campaign managers also seconded the point that it might not be possible for Muhammad Khan Baloch to win the polls if his nephew, Iftikhar Baloch had not succeeded in ensuring the support of some Bhattis, Syeds of Ratta and Abida Hussain.
Meanwhile, PTI Punjab president, Ijaz Chaudhry has announced to unveil concrete evidence of ruling party’s rigging practices in PP-81 bye-elections at a press conference very soon.