PESHAWAR - Traditionally, voters in Khyber Pakht-unkhwa don’t give a second chance to any party and a new party is given a fresh mandate after five years to rule the province.
Now the question is whether the PTI will retain its position to rule the province for another five-year term. KP has a strange history when it goes for elections. And despite running an exhausted election drive to attract maximum voters, introducing reforms in education, health and police department during its five-year government, nothing could be said exactly whether PTI would win majority seats in KP or not.
Since 2002, voters in KP have not been satisfied with any party’s performance whether it was MMA or ANP. None of them has been given the second chance. This is the uniqueness of this province if it is compared to rest of the provinces.
In 2002, MMA, an alliance of religio-politico parties emerged victorious in the province. In 2008, Pakhtun nationalist party, AN, was given a chance and likewise in 2013, PTI formed the government.
This time too, people are taking much interest in KP’s election results to see how voters will deal with PTI. In other words, the voters in KP have every time voted for a change. And question is whether PTI will be able break the trend or tradition.
The opponents blame PTI for doing nothing for the people’s welfare in its last five-year government. However, holding of huge public gatherings in KP shows PTI Chairman Imran Khan is still a popular leader among the masses and keeping in view this popularity, the people may give another chance to his party in the province.
Besides its popularity among the youngsters, PTI also improved its vote bank by completing some development projects in the province for which the party’s top leadership is also taking credit.
Another view is that PTI will secure seats, but will not gain majority and may need a coalition partner again to form government in the province. Other parties, ANP, MMA, PML-N, PPP and QWP, have also run their extensive election campaign in the province amid security threats.
However, PTI is very sure that it would win the province back as it has focused on depoliticising the police, improving law and order situation, launching billion-tree tsunami project, Bus Rapid Transit project and health cards for poor patients of the province. But it is also a reality that opposition parties have also decided not to give another chance to PTI to form government in the province.
The political dynamics are different in KP if we divide the province in four regions. A tough contest will take place between PML-N and PTI in Hazara. ANP, PTI, QWP and MMA will face each other in Peshawar and in Malakand division, PPP, MMA, ANP and PTI will contest the election aggressively.
The southern parts of the province have a different taste where neck-and-neck contest is expected mainly between MMA and PTI. A political observer says this is not 2013; ANP and MMA are expected to perform much better and give a tough time to PTI. Therefore, 2018 elections can prove a litmus test for PTI in KP.
Will PTI be able to break old trend in KP?
SAID ALAM KHAN