LAHORE - As the party of Bhuttos is badly in need of electable candidates from Punjab, it is eying only two National Assembly seats from Lahore for the July 25 elections.

Fourteen National Assembly seats are up for grab in the provincial capital which has been a PML-N stronghold for the last over two decades.

PPP has so far been able to find only two candidates from Lahore to be pitched against the rivals in the two national constituencies.

Party leadership has identified two NA constituencies - NA-132 and NA-133 – where its candidates can put up a certain degree of resistance against the runners from the PML-N and the PTI.

From NA-132, the PPP has fielded former federal minister Samina Khalid Ghurki who is banking mainly on her philanthropist work done in the area. She is also running a charity hospital in this constituency where the deserving patients get free medical treatment.

In 2013, she polled 32,569 votes and lost to Sohail Shaukat of the PML-N who then obtained 88,842 votes from the NA-130 (old).

As a result of the new delimitations, NA-132 contains around 40 per cent area previously located in NA-130. Though an official confirmation is still awaited, the PTI is set to field Mansha Sindhu from this constituency.

While contesting from NA-129 (old) in 2013 polls, Mansha had bagged 35,781 votes as against 94007 of Mian Shehbaz Sharif of the PML-N.

Mansha and Shehbaz Sharif are face to face again but from a different constituency. It would be an interesting contest to watch as the PML-N is not going to elections on a strong footing this time. In the post Panama scenario, the House of Sharifs is facing revolts from the party cadres vying to gain control in their respective spheres.

NA-132 comprises areas around Barki Road, DHA Phase 8, Jallo, Hadyara, Gajjumata and the surrounding areas.

From NA-133, the PPP has given ticket to an old party guard, Aslam Gill who would be contesting a general election for the first time. Gill had contested Senate election in 2012 but lost to an independent candidate Mohsin Leghari.

A die-hard PPP Jiala, Gill also served as Vice-Chairman of LDA during second tenure of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

This constituency comprises the localities of Kotlakhpat, Township, Johar Town, Green Town, Chungi Amar Sidhu, Shah de Khohi and settlements around Qainchi area situated on the junction of Walton Road and Ferozepur Road.  

PPP has plans to fish in troubled waters in this constituency which has recently witnessed a revolt from one of the PML-N candidates Syed Zaeem Hussain Qadri who is now contesting as independent candidate.

Waheed Alam Khan is the official candidate of the PML-N from this constituency. He is real brother of a sitting Lahore High Court Judge.

PTI has given ticket to Ejaz Chaudhry, its former Punjab President. Chaudhry is son-in-law of former Jamat-e-Islami (JI) Amir, Mian Tufail Ahmad and also served as Deputy Mayor of Lahore during Zia’s era.

He is contesting his first election from the PTI platform.

In 2013 elections, Ejaz Ch was denied party ticket despite the fact that he was sitting president of party’s Punjab chapter at that time.

The PPP would like to take advantage of a visible split in the PML-N vote bank and overall division of votes among the three rival candidates.

The PML-N vote bank would be divided between Zaeem and Waheed Alam if the former stays in the contest till last.

In 2013 elections, Waheed Alam Khan of the PML-N who then obtained 102,080 votes had defeated Nasrullah Mughal of the PTI while contesting from NA-127 (old). Mughal had then bagged 45,787 votes.

Khurram Latif Khosa of the PPP got 6,233 votes at that time.

Interestingly, none of the candidates who are in the race from NA-133, are residents of this constituency.