PESHAWAR  -  This week, relatively more hustle and bustle will be going around on the political horizon in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. It is because the PTI-led government will present first budget of its second consecutive term on October 11. The budget will be for the remaining months of the ongoing fiscal year 2018-19.  More importantly, by-elections on one National Assembly and nine KP Assembly seats in the province are scheduled for October 14.

Despite having a little presence in the KP Assembly, opposition parties claim to give tough time to the PTI on both the fronts - budget and by-polls.

The opposition blames PTI for not taking it into confidence in preparing the financial plan. The PTI says it will be a tax-free budget, reflecting priorities and 100-day plan of the government.

Three days after the budget, polling for one NA and nine KP seats will be held in the province.

This time around, the combined opposition consisting of MMA, ANP, PML-N and PPP has fielded joint candidates. They even run election drive together aiming to defeat the ruling PTI. And that’s why, on majority of the seats, there is now one-to-one contest - the PTI versus combined opposition.

Emerging as the single largest party in the general elections, there will be no trouble for the PTI either it fails to secure or retains seats in by-polls. However, it will certainly give a boost to the opposition, which is constantly highlighting performance of the ruling party as poorer.

In case, the PTI wins, of which there are much chances, it will prove that the party has still a popular vote bank in the KP. While the opposition thinks, PTI’s defeat will expose it to the people.

The nine KP Assembly constituencies, where the by-polls will be held include Swat’s PK-3 and PK-7, Swabi’s PK-44, Mardan’s PK-53, Nowshera’s PK-61 and PK-64, Peshawar’s PK-78, and DI Khan’s PK-97 and PK-99.  Elections were postponed in PK-78 and PK-99 after the assassination of candidates Haroon Ahmad Bilour of the ANP and Ikramullah Khan Gandapur of the PTI, respectively. Moreover, by-election in NA-35 Bannu will also be held. This seat had been vacated by Imran Khan who had defeated MMA’s strong candidate and ex-chief minister KP Akram Khan Durrani with a huge margin.

To think over old mistakes, remove differences, set new targets and reorganise their parties at grass roots level, JUI-F and ANP have announced to launch membership drives in the province, which will be later followed by provincial and central intra-party elections.

For this purpose, both the parties have constituted membership committees as well. However, differences have emerged within the JUI-F reportedly over committee members nominations. It may lead to delay in holding JUI-F’s intra party elections.

The ANP has even announced that its provincial and central intra-party polls will be held in April and May next year.

Though, not securing even a single seat in last elections, QWP headed by Aftab Sherpao, has actively been holding political activities. It has recently announced the party’s foundation day celebrations on October 28. For this purpose, an eight-member committee headed by Hashim Babar was constituted to make arrangements in this regard.

Comparatively, there is a silence in the ranks of PPP and PML-N at least at provincial level. The N-League president and opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif was arrested by NAB, recently. However, as expected no such protest was witnessed in the province at all except the one in front of the Peshawar Press Club, but no central or provincial leader was present there.