In one of the relatively underdeveloped areas of Lahore ascendancy through ballot is underway, or so it seems. On the last day of the campaign for NA-123, each candidate is engaged in political maneuvering to hold sway over a constituency of nearly 2, 88,000 registered voters. As the day to the by-elections draws closer, scheduled for March 10, 2010, ballot civility replaces crude grafting methods to win votes. A traditional hill fort of the Pakistan Muslim League, Nawaz (PML-N) for the past 18 years, NA-123 is a site of intense electioneering by the parties of the three candidates representing the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and the PML-N. For many political observers the outcome is a foregone conclusion boding victory for the PML-N candidate, Mr Pervaiz Malik, leaving them to wonder the ballot potency of PTIs candidate Mr Hamid Mairaj and JIs Mr Hafiz Salman Butt. The NA-123 has 268 polling stations with 325 polling booths for men and 316 for women. When the entire Punjab government machinery is working in stark violation of the Political Parties Rules, 2002 to ensure Pervaiz Maliks victory, most of the residents of China Scheme, Shalimar, Baghbanpura, Wassan Pura and the Grand Trunk Road, Singhpura are questioning the motives behind the sudden development spurt. One of the many muddied roads in NA-123 jolting vehicles daring to ply on it, leading to the main artery to Bhogianwala, beckons with a huge life size PTI poster torn in the middle to leave a gaping shadow of its partys chairman, Mr Imran Khan. If that minor show of strength is not enough to intimidate opponents, the untimely power cuts during public speeches is one of several tactics employed to control the constituencys political fate. It will be quite difficult for the PML(N) to sweep the polls because the PML(Q) and the PPP are supporting the Jamaat-i-Islamis Hafiz Salman Butt, says Hameed, a resident of Baghbanpura. To strengthen Pervaiz Maliks successful candidature Hamza Sharif and Khwaja Saad Rafiq, members of the National Assembly addressed a gathering at Union Council-14 on March 7. The two MNAs, along with Pervaiz Malik, promised potable water, provision of Sui gas and setting up dispensaries and schools. Ive been listening to this for 20 years now. Promises and more promises. Hashmi also said the same things. Not a single promise has been fulfilled. Look at this area Look at it This is no Raiwind. We would have had development if one of the Sharif brothers or their family members were living here complains an exasperated resident of Bhogiawala. Uncovered sewerage dumps, potholed narrow alleys are minor highlights of an area which, one resident claims, should have been prioritised by the Shahbaz Sharif government for placing his party in the National Assembly for nearly two decades. The PTI members complain of the ongoing development work during election campaign, directly supervised by the PML(N). In spite of the flapping colourful banners, flying strategically over carefully placed giant boards of PML(N)s Pervaiz Malik, people are not distracted by the faces showing little more than their political and familial lineage. People of this area are looking for change and Hamid Mairaj is that change, says Talath Naqvi, PTI information secretary, Womens Wing, Punjab. Perhaps portending change, the traditional PML(N) political hub was able to lure nearly 7000 people to a place close to GT Road Singhpura to hear Mr Imran Khan speak on the same day as the speech held by Hamza Sharif and Khwaja Saad Rafique. We are not going to step aside to make way for those people who have ruled without accountability simply because they have the monetary strength to by votes and have a fully functional provincial government. The PTI is contesting to give people the chance to know the difference between living and surviving, comments Ms Naqvi. The NA-123 has 268 polling stations with 325 polling booths for men and 316 for women.