LAHORE - A number of factors influence the voting pattern in every elections and the same is going to happen in the coming polls.

Except the PTI, which is novice in politics, all other parties would be entering the election arena alongwith their traditional vote bank which consists of committed workers and supporters.

All political parties rely much on their hardcore workers which has not lost sight of their original ideals. These voters cast vote irrespective of their party’s performance if it happens to be in power before the elections.

In Punjab, where the PML-N had been dominating the election scene since the last three elections, it would again be at the advantageous position compared to other parties as far as traditional pattern of voting is concerned.

There is no reason to disbelieve that PML-N would be losing its vote bank, especially in North Punjab, in the coming polls. Except South Punjab, its candidates have always performed better in the major towns situated on the GT Road which encompass 70 per cent of its total strength in the province.

There are doubts that PPP would be able to retain its traditional vote bank because the ideological workers are not happy with the top leadership. The level of their commitment with their party may not be the same as before. Many believe that PPP has deviated from its basic ideology under the new leadership. Also, no effort has been made to mobilise the old party guards ahead of the next polls.

The PML-Q has witnessed many setbacks in the past five years. It is almost devoid of committed party workers. After a number of defections to other parties, it is no more a ‘party of electables’, as it was once known. It is left with a few candidates who wield personal influence in their constituencies. Nobody here votes for the party, but for individuals whose number is on the decline with every passing day.

Though the PTI has no tested ideological workers so far, but it has found many before going into the polls. They are vibrant and motivated humming for change in the system. Though it is difficult to gauge their performance at this stage, but the indications are that they are poised to play a significant role in the victory of their party.

The biradari factor is a known phenomenon in our rural politics. Heads of different clans make vital decisions to support or oppose the candidates. A party with greater number of candidates having backing of their respective clans stands more chances of victory in elections. The nature of relationship a candidate has with the members of his clan is also very important. People don’t vote for a candidate merely because he or she belongs to their biradari. Good relationship matters.

The PPP and the PML-Q would have an edge over other parties as far as biradari vote is concerned. These parties have their strength in rural areas where biradari vote matters a lot.

In certain constituencies, however, the PML-N candidates may have an edge over their opponents, but, by and large, it is the domain of the PPP and the PML-Q. The PTI would be at a disadvantageous position in this regard.

Another important factor which also influences the voting pattern is what we call the ‘swing vote’. Usually, this vote is not more than 5000 in number, but sometime, it proves decisive in the defeat or victory of a candidate.

According to many analysts, this swing vote is swelling up day by day. Those who don’t usually caste their votes are becoming part of this group. Given the turn out of previous elections, 60 per cent of the registered voters don’t turn up at the polling stations. They neither believe in the current political system nor the political parties. They think their vote would bring no change in their lives.

But this time, this silent majority has found a hope in the form of Imran’s PTI which is vying for change. This is the only party which has not been tested before. Thanks to the awareness created by the vibrant media, people are now more aware of their rights. This has increased their knowledge of ‘who is who and what is what’.

If Imran’s volunteers, said to be thousands in number, succeed in mobilising these voters and taking them to the polling stations on the election day, the results would be surprising. This lone factor would surpass the other two.