PESHAWAR - The campaign for local bodies’ elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is gaining momentum as the scheduled date for polling is approaching, forcing the candidates to pace up their door-to-door visits.

The polling will be held on May 30 amid tight security arrangements, as according to the security plan, all polling stations in the provincial capital Peshawar have been declared sensitive. In this regard, the district administration has imposed Section 144 in the city for a period of one month in an effort to maintain law and order during the local bodies elections.

A notification issued from the DC office said that pillion riding, aerial firing, display of weapons and the use of loudspeakers in public gathering and political rallies will be completely banned until June 23. Some 110,186 security personnel will be deployed for maintaining law and order on the polling day.

Out of total 13,035,759 registered voters, 7,438,796 are male and 5696903 are female. They would elect their representatives, for which, around 11,107 polling stations have been set up in 24 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Among them, 3,428 are for men, 3,059 for women and 4,724 are for both. Of the total polling stations, 2,837 have been declared highly sensitive. Besides, not only the general public but even candidates have objected over male and female combined (unisex) polling stations in some parts of the province, calling for having separate polling facilities.

Comparatively numbers of both contesting candidates and of those to be elected is higher than that of the previous similar elections. This time, a total of 84,420 aspirants will try their luck on 41,762 seats across the province. Among them, 5,480 candidates are contesting for 978 general seats in the district council wards whereas 5,907 are competing for 978 general seats in the tehsil council wards.

The elections for district and tehsil councils are being held on party basis while for the seats of general councillor, peasant/worker, women, youth and minorities of neighbourhood/village councils, polls would be held on non-party basis.

Likewise, in neighbourhood/village councils, the 23,111 general seats are being contested by 39,079 candidates and 7,681 women are trying their luck for 6,678 reserved seats. Similarly, there will be a contest among 15,700 candidates for 3,339 peasant/workers seats and 14,224 youth candidates are in the run for 3,339 seats reserved for them in the new local government system introduced by the ruling PTI in the province.

Interestingly, there are 349 non-Muslim candidates contesting for 3,339 reserved seats for minorities in neighbourhood and village councils. So, 2,990 seats for the minorities in various village and neighbourhood councils would remain vacant. Those responsible for the seat distribution should have at least kept in mind that most of the districts of the province do not have non-Muslim population at all.