­LAHORE - A close contest is expected between PML-N’s Rana Mubashir Iqbal and PTI’s Zaheer Abbas Khokhar in NA-134 constituency, a blend of posh housing schemes, semi urban and rural areas.

Although 11 candidates are in the race to win confidence of majority vote from NA-134, the real contest is between ticket holders of arch rivals, PML-N and PTI.

Disgruntled PML-N leader Zaeem Hussain Qadri is contesting from this constituency as an independent candidate on the symbol of sunflower, but he is unlikely to cause serious blow to chances of Rana Mubashir Iqbal. Pakistan People’s Party-Parliamentarian’s Sohail Afzal Awan is also unlikely to make any impact in the constituency once considered a stronghold of jiyalas of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Aneela Batool of Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal and Irfan Shehky of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan are also in the run from this constituency.

Although PML-N is considered a right wing party, presence of TLP will not damage Rana Mubashir.

In the absence of TLP, right wing votes would have gone to PTI due to hanging of Mumtaz Qadri and Khatam-e-Nabuwat issue during the PML-N regime. As such presence of TLP is blessing in disguise that will stop right wing voters from going to the lap of arch rival of PML-N.

Rana Mubashir Iqbal has edge over his rival in rural areas despite entry of a big player, Ch Abdul Ghafoor, who is trying to convince Mayo biradri for casting vote in favour of PTI. PML-N had ignored Ch Abdul Ghafoor in 2013 and 2018 that forced him to join PTI ranks. He believes lakhs of Mayos in Lahore were angry with PML-N for not awarding ticket to even a single candidate from this major biradari.

As around 35,000 votes of Mayo biradari can prove decisive in final results, Rana Mubashir is trying to control damage with the help of younger brother of Ch Abdul Ghafoor. He is going to the extreme extent of sitting on the heels of the annoyed elders; videos of this act are already viral on the social media.

Backed by influential property dealers and Rana biradri, Mubashir is carrying out an aggressive campaign in areas like Sattu Katla, Halloki, Kamahan, Atari Saroba, Dalo Kalan, Dalo Khurd, Thay Panju, Thay Warraich, Bagarian, Dev Khur, Balhar, Katcha Tibba, Katcha Damdma, Tahayat, Rakh Chand Ray and Kahna Nau.

Rajputs, Jats, Gujjars, Mayos, Arains and Khokhars are major biradaris in the constituency.

Rana Mubashir is also giving due time to electioneering in housing schemes in the constituency for securing maximum possible votes to control the damage.

Zaheer Abbas Khokhar is confident of winning July 25 polls due to PTI stronghold, Wapda Town, Valencia, Nasheman-e-Iqbal, NFC Housing Society, Sitara Colony, Punjab Housing Society, Engineer Town, UET Housing Society, Mateen Avenue, PCSIR Phase 1 and 2 and Nespak Colony. In last general elections, PTI candidate bagged more than 25,000 votes from Wapda Town and other housing schemes. As the number of housing schemes increased after delimitation in the light of latest census results, the PTI candidate is upbeat about his victory. For him the real challenge is convincing people to exercise their right to vote. A large turnout from posh areas can swing the election in favour of Zaheer Abbas Khokhar. In semi-urban and rural areas, Zaheer Abbas Khokhar, lawyer by profession, is hoping for good results in the aftermath of conviction of Nawaz Sharif in the Panama case and alleged corruption in public-sector companies. Popularity of Imran Khan and active support of Ch Abdul Ghafoor is also boosting morale for the PTI candidate.

There are 260,200 registered voters, including 150,944 male and 109,256 female. As many as 196 polling stations and 549 polling booths have been set up in NA-134.

Provincial constituencies, PP-168 and PP-169, fall under NA-134. In PP-168, real contest is between PML-N’s stalwart Khawaja Saad Rafique and PTI’s Fayyaz Bhatti.

From PP-169, another provincial constituency under NA-134, PTI’s Amin Zulqarnain is contesting against Imran Javed of PML-N. Chaudhry Mehmood-ul-Ahad of MMA, Sheikh Imran Ashfaq of TLP and PPP-P’s Muhammad Asif are in the run from here.