KARACHI - Sindh is heading for the second phase of local government elections on November 19 amidst high political temperature in the wake of the bloody incident of Khairpur, murder of PPP candidate in Khipro and volatile situation in Badin and Tharparkar districts.

The elections will be held in 14 of the 15 sensitive districts of Hyderabad, Shaheed Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas divisions of the province which has already seen bloodshed in the first phase.

Local government polls in highly sensitive Sanghar district were postponed after reports of an expected clash between PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional supporters in the wake of the Khairpur bloodshed that claimed the lives of 13 people, mostly belonging to PML-F.

After the postponement of the polls in Sanghar, military/paramilitary forces were shifted to Badin to beef up security and keep the tense situation under control there.

Badin which otherwise has remained a politically serene district in all general elections is now witnessing vitiated atmosphere as disgruntled PPP leader Dr Zulfiqar Mirza in alliance with JUI-F, PML-N and Sindh United Party, has threatened the government of dire consequences in case of electoral rigging.

Keeping in view the tense situation in Badin where former home minister of the PPP government, Dr Zulfikar Mirza, has fielded his candidates against those nominated by the PPP, the Election Commission of Pakistan, as precautionary measures, announced deployment of military/paramilitary troops in the district.

The ruling PPP has focused all attention towards Badin which has become a political battlefield with the rival Arbab group and another anti-PPP force led by Zulfiqar Ali Mirza in the field employing all available resources to rout the PPP in the district.

The top PPP leadership and elected representatives as well as cabinet members had made hectic efforts to make successful the most crucial election rally on Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s visit to Badin by mobilising all available resources.

Similarly, situation in Umerkot, Pir Pagaro, Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, having large followings, are pitted against Nawab Yousuf Talpur and Ali Mardan Shah of PPP. PTI Chairman Imran Khan has visited the district to garner support for his party candidates.

Political temperature is also high in Tharparkar district after former chief minister Dr Arbab Rahim staged a sit-in. The Arbab group is striving hard to gain its lost political glory.

About 47 percent of polling stations have been declared highly sensitive.

Political circles also did not rule out trouble in Tharparkar district where former Chief Minister Dr Arbab Rahim along with anti PPP alliance is in the electoral fray against PPP candidates. The PPP is facing internal grouping in its ranks in the district as Khatumal and Rana Hameer Singh are campaigning separately on their own, while Mahesh Malani, Faqir Sher Bilalani and Senator Giyanchandani have their own groups.

The visit of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to Tharparkar is expected to bring the three groups in the party closer.

Sherazi group, believed to be a strong political force in Thatta and Sujawal districts currently affiliated with PML-N, is striving hard to regain the political position which they lost in 2013 general elections.

To demonstrate their power, they took out two big rallies, apparently to match the ruling PPP’s impressive show of strength in the area a day earlier.

In Dadu district, ruling PPP is facing strong electoral alliance comprising Awami Ittehad Party (AIP), headed by former chief minister Liaquat Ali Jatoi, Tehreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan People’s Party-Shaheed Bhutto and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

Anti-PPP alliance is likely to give a tough time to the ruling party due to an open rivalry between two senior party figures, Pir Mazharul Haq and Rafique Ahmed Jamali, over distribution of tickets.

Political analysts are expecting voters’ low turnout in Badin, Umerkot and Tharparkar districts on account of fear.