LAHORE - Voters in PP-168 Lahore will elect their Punjab Assembly representative on Thursday (today). The seat fell vacant due to election of Khwaja Saad Rafiq as MNA.

As many as 11 candidates are in the run for his seat but tough contest is expected between the PML-N and the ruling PTI. The PML-N which has been going unbeaten in this constituency during the last three general elections has fielded Rana Khalid Mahmood. Rana is an advocate and old worker of the party.

He enjoys big support of Rajputs – one among Mayos, Gujjars and Jatts of the constituency. The PPP has also announced support to the PML-N candidate.

PTI candidate is Malik Asad Ali Khokhar who is a young but experienced campaigner. He had lost the last election in NA-136 Lahore to PML-N’s Malik Afzal Khokhar, whose following in that NA constituency indeed excelled his rival. Malik Asad is working hard in this constituency to narrow down the gap Saad Rafiq had with about 20000 votes against the PTI candidate in the general election, Fayyaz Bhatti, then a novice in parliamentary politics. The PTI candidate in corner meetings and door to door contacts, has received a robust response from the public but the outcome today will determine his and his party acceptance.

Tehrike Labaik Pakistan (TLP) has fielded Sajid Mahood who was also in the same constituency in the last general election and with 9408 had stood third in voters tally. Sajid’s vote may affect the position any mainstream candidate in the background of Aasia Bibi case and crackdown on the Labaik leadership. The rest eight are independents. The constituency covers the area from Pak Arab Society Ferozpur Road to Kamah which are housed by colonies and suburbs localities of the town mostly inhabited by lower middle and middle class people. PP-168 has problem galore ranging from pollution, contaminated water, to roads and street in a shambles and health and education. The heaps of garbage and dung at place to place and rough paths speak volumes of how much this constituency was taken care of by the governments in the past.

PP-168 has total number of registered voters 126912 of them 73724 are male and 53188 are female. For casting votes as many 27 male and 23 female and 31 combined polling stations housing a total of 262 polling booths, have been set up.

Popular enthusiasm is quite high at the moment in this constituency despite cold weather.

Polling in PP-168 will start at 8am and continue till 5pm without interval. Tight security plan has been prepared for the by-polls in this constituency where many polling stations have also been declared sensitive.

The result in PP-168 holds much meaning for the PML-N and the PTI in terms of asserting its popularity and stand against each others. Particularly for the PTI, this seat will go a long way to dent the PML-N popularity graph in the city and authenticate government policies in the public.