LAHORE - The PTI and the PML-N are bracing for tough electoral battles in two national constituencies of Lahore on October 14.

Though the upcoming by-election in NA-131 and NA-124 is not going to change the respective party positions of the two parties in the National Assembly, the results would be important in terms of the political impetus they get out of it.

If the PTI is facing the challenge of retaining its seat (NA-131) it had won in July elections, the PML-N is placed in a similar situation in case of NA-124.

A tough electoral contest is expected in NA-131 between Humayun Akhtar Khan of the PTI and Khawaja Saad Rafique of the PML-N. PTI Chief Imran Khan had defeated Khawaja Saad in July vote by a thin margin of over 600 votes. In the prevailing situation, Humayun Akhtar Khan is having edge over his rival mainly because of being a candidate of the ruling party. Moreover, he has also been elected from this constituency in 2002 elections though his rival Saad was elected twice from here, first time in 2008 and for the second time in 2013 elections.

However, some PTI voters may not vote for Humayum for the reason that he had joined the party only a couple of months back. Previously, Imran Khan had promised to give seat to party’s Lahore President Muneeb Iqbal.

Saad Rafique is known for being a great campaigner who would go door to door for canvassing. He gave a tough fight to PTI chief Imran Khan in the previous contest. But this time around, he is in the field with the big disadvantage of being the candidate of a party which is destined to remain in the Opposition for the next five years. In Pakistan’s model of politics, the political groups and common voters usually prefer to vote for a candidate whose party is in power or has better prospects of coming to power. This is so because a candidate belonging to a ruling party is better placed to look after his electorate.

The electoral contest in NA-124 has become one sided in the outset. The PTI has fielded a weak candidate in a constituency which has been a stronghold of the PML-N since long. PTI’s Dewan Ghulam Mohayyodin stands little chance of victory against Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of the PML-N. The former prime minister is running a vigorous campaign spearheaded by Hamza Shehbaz  who vacated this east to take another one in the provincial house.

Ghulam Mohiyyuddin Deewan is banking on the Kashmiri vote bank in the old City, but traditionally, the voters of Kashmiri origin residing here have been voting for the PML-N candidates. Deewan is also a leading merchant of Akbari Mandi. Unlike Khan Abbasi, no big name of the PTI is supporting his election campaign

The electioneering in PP-164 and PP-165 is also gaining momentum. The PML-N has fielded Malik Saiful Malook Khokhar in PP-164 and Sohail Shaukat Butt in PP-165. Both the seats were vacated by former Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif after he retained the National Assembly seat. The PTI has fielded Muhammad Mansha Sindhu in PP-164 though he had lost the last NA-132 seat to Shehbaz Sharif in the last election. Also, Saiful Maluk Khokhar had lost the NA seat to the PTI’s Karamat Khokhar in the July 25 polls. PP-164 consists of large Mayo and Gujjar braderies whose vote is considered decisive in the victory of any Party. Former Minister of the PML-N government Ch Abdul Ghafoor, who belongs to Mayo bradari is now a part of the PTI. Sohail Shaukat has been MNA of the PML-N who is now facing Muhammad Yousaf of the PTI in PP-165.