The electioneering for the third phase of the local bodies elections to be held on December 5 has accelerated with convening of corner meetings while neck and neck contests are expected among PML-N, PTI and independents.

Under the Punjab Local Government Ordinance, Municipal Committee Ahmedpur East has been restored where 45 wards have been constituted. PML-N has issued its tickets in 31 wards. The ruling party has awarded its ticket to any candidate in five wards of Dera Nawab Sahib town.

Two PML-N nominees Haji Fida Hussein Tabussum, Mian Muzzamail Nadeem, one PTI candidate Dr Maqsood Mehar and independent candidate Allah Bakhsh Joya were elected unopposed.

As per a survey, tight contest is expected among PML-N, PTI and independent candidates. PML-N MNA Ali Hassan Gillani and MPA Qazi Adnan Farid supported awarding the party tickets to their supporters. However, the party’s provincial leadership awarded PML-N tickets to three old PML-N leaders Asif Gondal, Malik Ramzan Janjua and Shehzad Suhail Khakwani despite the opposition of both the PML-N lawmakers.

PML-N MNA Ali Hassan Gillani delivered six tickets among his blue-eyed persons and ignored President Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran and Chairman Market Committee Mian Younas who had demanded sought the party ticket for his nominee but MNA pleased his favourites in Satellite Town.

MPA Qazi Adnan Farid who had emerged as popular leader in May 2013 general elections gave 31 tickets to candidates of his own choice. A group of PML-N workers have alleged PML-N lawmakers for neglecting the old activists and constituted PML-N Nazariati group under the leadership of old PML-N leader Amjad Saleh Bhatti.

On the other hand, former MNA Arif Aziz Sheikh and former deputy speaker Punjab Assembly Sahibzada Usman Abbasi fielded PTI candidates in all the wards of Municipal Committee Ahmedpur East. He also fielded five PTI candidates in Dera Nawab Sahib Town where one PTI candidate was elected unopposed. In other four wards, former nazim Faizur Rasheed Abbasi’s group candidates are contesting as independent candidates.

Former district nazim Tariq Bashir Cheema and former tehsil zazim Makhdoom Samiul Hassan Gillani are also backing a few independent candidates.

Nawab of Bahawalpur Salahuddin Abbasi who earlier played a key role in almost all local bodies elections since 1987, is not backing any group or political party. So the PML-N feels itself comfortable in these local bodies elections. Its lawmakers Makhdoom Syed Ali Hassan Gillani and Qazi Adnan Farid have decided to nominate Malik Usman Rasheed Bobak and Mian Muzzamil Nadeem for the slots of chairman and vice chairmanship of Municipal Committee Ahmedpur East respectively.

Malik Usman Rasheed Bobak’s father Malik Rasheed Ahmed Bobak was elected twice unopposed as chairman of Municipal Committee AhmedpurEast in 1983 and 1991 local bodies elections while his grandfather Malik Allah Wasaya Bobak was also chosen as head of Municipal Committee in late Field Marshal Ayub Khan regime.