Wah cantt - As many as 67 candidates have locked their horns to clinch 22 wards of tehsil Taxila as the returning officer issued list of candidates yesterday.

According to the list, 22 candidates each belong to ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), three candidates each of Jamaat Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl), two candidates belong to Sunni Tehreek, one candidate belongs to PPP and 15 candidates are vying as independent candidates.

Initially as many as 102 aspirant candidates had filed their nomination papers but later 35 withdrew in the final run.

A close contest is expected in as many as 10 constituencies between PTI and PML-N. A major group of PML-N has parted his ways over allotment of tickets and formed an independent group led by Syed Riaz Hussain Shah which has decided to contest election with the election symbol of bucket. According to local political observers, the bucket many dent the vote bank of the PML-N as bucket can fetch a large number of votes in two constituencies due to its strong religious and social influence.

As different political parties have gird up their lions for 22 wards, political observers said that the ruling PML-N would face strong resistance from rival PTI.

According to local political observers, Sarwar Khan group of PTI is the most influential and powerful panel in the area as during last general elections one national and two provincial assembly seats were won by PTI candidates. The PTI also swept cantonment board polls in Taxila and Wah due to massive public support.

There is an anti-government sentiment among masses because of sharp hike in POL prices, electricity and Sui gas tariffs and unemployment. It seems that PTI would again strike at the stronghold of PML-N in the upcoming polls.