LAHORE: Despite a heavy and costly electioneering in NA-122 just two days before the polling, most of voters in the constituency are still taking time to make up their mind as to whom they should support. The three main parties, PML-N, PTI and PPP, have fielded their candidates, but a close and tough fight is between former National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq of PML-N and Abdul Aleem Khan of PTI. Both the parties are making strenuous and backbreaking efforts to ensure win of their respective candidates. For this purpose, they have hardly missed any option to woo the voters. Yet a large number of the voters have serious reservations about performance of both the main parties.

During a survey of the constituency, scores of voters were contacted and most of them found annoyed with both the main parties. Those belonging to middle and lower middle class highly chagrined the ruling PML-N. However, there were also diehard voters of that party, who openly said they would vote for its candidate regardless of what the government delivered. Khalid Hassan alias Nanna Pehlwan of Mustafaabad said he had always voted for PML-N and would do so this time. Though he had little to defend his party when asked about the current price hike, he boasted the government was making strenuous efforts to overcome the difficulties. Khalil, a tailor by profession, was quite disappointed with PML-N whom he had been voting throughout, but this time he has changed his mind. He gave the reason that life of the poor had become quite miserable over the last two years of the N government while scandals of corruptions are emerging against those in power. He said he and his family would abstain instead of voting for the ‘corruption’.

Almost the same feelings were expressed by Abdul Karim, a private employee of Rehmanpura, Tabinda, a housewife of Upper Mall and Rana Faheem a shopkeeper at Wahdat Raod. They also expressed the grievance that Ayaz Sadiq never showed up after winning the elections and said this time they would think deeply before voting for this party. To the contrary, Salman, a student of MBA, and his friend Faheem strongly supported PML-N. They said in Ichhra and Samnanad majority of voters were with it. They vehemently backed development projects like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, motorways, Orange Train in the city and Kissan Package of the government. They said Lahore was a political citadel of PML-N where nobody could defeat it.

Muhammad Zahid and Qasim, small businessmen of Dharampura, said they would vote for the N candidate. Abbas Shah of the same locality said he would vote for Aleem Khan of PTI. Though he was not in the assembly, had been in touch with the voters and listened to them whenever they faced any problem. Babar Rasheed, a property dealer, also supported PTI and said majority of voters in Shadman, Upper Mall and Zafar Ali Raod had not so far decided whom they would back this time. An interesting feature was observed about the PPP voters who have tilted towards PTI despite the fact that Barrister Amir Hassan of the party is in the field. They did not accept the new party structure under Asif Ali Zardari and missed Benazir Bhutto badly. One Noor Muhammad of Pind Mianmir said PPP was no more after the death of its leader Benazir Bhutto, so he would vote for PTI. Contraryn to it, a PTI disgruntled worker, Shahzad Ali, said he would support PML-N in protest against the futile 126-day dhrana of Imran Khan. Munawar Jan who runs a grocery shop supported the N League for she views PTI a secular party. She also found Imran’s hollow claims regarding poor treatment of the poor at Shokat Khanum Hospital. At the same time, she advised the N-government to pay attention to the poor instead of roads and bridges.

Arsalan of Upper Mall said he would opt for PTI not because he loved Imran Khan, but because PML-N had failed to address the real issues of the masses. Naila of Shah Jamal said she believed Imran Khan would bring a change, so she would vote for PTI. Haider of Samanabad said Imran was making efforts to change the system, so why not to vote for him. 

Ehtesham, living in Ichhra, said Imran was the hope for change and I would vote for his candidate. Zara of Upper Mall said NA-122 was taken away from Imran Khan through foul play and she would vote for Aleem. Zohra of Dharampura said PML-N could get her vote if his candidate gave her a formula to manage the monthly house expenditures in her budget.