KARACHI - A tough contest is likely between candidates of Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in NA-258 constituency of Malir in forthcoming national elections.

Three provincial seats of PS-128, PS-129 and PS-130 also fall in this national assembly constituency. PPP is set to face a tough challenge from MQM and PML-N on these seats, excluding PS-130.

This national assembly constituency has the highest number of registered voters, 263,365, of which 145,616 are male and 117,749 female, and is comprised of Malir district, including Gadap, Bin Qasim, Ebrahim Hyderi, Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Memon Goth and other rural and urban areas. The voters of this constituency are from different ethnic backgrounds, but a majority of them are Sindhi-speaking.

After Lyari, it is Malir which actively responded in terms of following when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto founded PPP in the 1970s, but with the passage of time and priorities, it seems things have changed as caste system and intrusion of other political groups deplete PPP’s popularity in its stronghold, mainly due to its choice of candidates and lack of development projects therein.

Besides PPP and PML-N, some independent candidates as well as PML-Q and MQM are in race for electoral test on NA-258. Prominent candidates include Abdul Razak Baloch alias Raja Razak of PPP; Abdul Hakeem Baloch of PML-N, who switched to independent candidacy from PPP, and then to PML-N; Abdul Karim Bijar, former PPP-backed town nazim Ghulam Murtaza Baloch; Haleem Adil Shaikh of PML-Q and Mujahid Jokhio.

The mega project of Education city and IT city as well as controversial bundal and buddo islands also fall within the purview of NA-258.

Analysts say the actual fight is between PPP’s Raja Razak and PML-N’s Hakeem Baloch. They say PPP is going to face a tough since a large number of local party leaders and workers are not happy with party’s selection of candidate. Given the fact that area notables are also backing PML-N’s candidate, chances of PPP wining this seat are grim.

It may be mentioned here that the 2002 and 2008 elections to NA-258 were swept by PPP’s Sher Muhammad Baloch with a huge margin.

Analysts believe PPP’s bad governance and failure to provide the common man with any relief may cause its decline. Massive funds poured in but no noticeable development work was carried out.

Meanwhile, of the three provincial assembly seats, a tough contest is likely to be witnessed on PS-128 and PS-129. Analysts believe PPP may take benefit due to a weak candidate against its heavyweight, former provincial minister Sajid Jokhio in PS-128. A neck-and-neck contest is brewing in PS-129 between PPP’s Rafiq Jat and PML-N’s Haji Shafi Muhammad Jamote.

A major portion of PS-128 falls in urban centres, where MQM has dominancy.

The constituency of PS-128 has 81,075 male and 52,525 female registered voters, while PS-129 has 90,300 male and 62264 female voters. PS-130 has a total of 84,317 male and 61,978 female registered voters.

Besides MQM candidate, PPP’s Rafiq Jat, PML-N’s Haji Shafi Jamote, PML-Q’s Haleem Adil Shaikh are in race for election to PS-129. In PS-130, PPP’s former provincial minister Muhammad Sajid Jokhio, PML-N’s Karim Bijar/Raja Ansari, independent candidate Muhammad Saleem Baloch and others will be vying for the provincial assembly seat.