LAHORE A close contest for the Lahore High Court Bar presidentship is expected as major groups and the notable lawyers have expedited their campaign for the candidates namely Asghar Ali Gill of Professional Group supported by Hamid and Rai Bashir Ahmad of Friends Alliance supported by Asma Jahangir, president SCBA, PLF and others. The elections will be held on February 26 (Saturday). The candidates for all the four seats of LHCBA, have geared up their campaigns. At present, the Bar has total 19,016 members and out of them, 13,508 have been cleared for voting after they paid the annual dues. Besides a close straight fight for the presidential slot, this time an interesting fight is also expected between the nine candidates running for vice president, secretary and finance seat in the election for the year 2011-12. Eminently for the presidential contest, personal friendships of the candidates appear to play a key role than the candidates standpoint on the issues relating to the judiciary and the lawyers movement. Though the candidates voice for guarding independence of judiciary and uphold Constitutionality in the country, but their stance against the political and national issues as well as the current Raymond Davis case, is not so much in the fore, as it was traditionally witnessed in the past. The presidential candidates talk more for welfare and betterment of the community instead of showing a stiff stand on the issues. Gill has been the vice chairman of Punjab Bar Council and President Lahore Bar Association. His rival Rai Bashir is enjoying the support of the group which has recently made a mark in the SCBA, PBC and Lahore Bar elections. Bashir is the member of the Judicial Commission and has contested general election for MMA. Both are claiming the support of Jatt, Arian and Rajput.