As over 50 independently elected chairmen of union councils joined PML-N in the last two days, it has become obvious that the offices of District Council chairman and Municipal Corporation mayor of Multan will be won by the ruling party.

As the aspirants for the offices of mayor and chairman of District Council have stepped up their campaign, the independents started joining PML-N. The PML-N had won about 80 seats of chairman of union councils in recent elections and the new joining wave has taken this total to over 130.

The PML-N sources disclosed that a group of 18 chairmen from Jalalpur Pirwala area, who got elected independently with the support of Rana Qasim Noon, have filled joining forms. Similarly, another group of 13 chairmen from Shujabad announced to join PML-N in the presence of MNA Syed Javed Ali Shah. The Syed Group’s supported chairmen included Mir Sarwat Kazmi, Shafat Aziz, Asim Naseer, Ijaz Ahmad, Ayyaz Ahmad Bodla, Jam Nusrat, Fayyaz Sahu, Rauf Ghulam Rasool, Haji Intazar Ali, Wajid Shah, Mushtaq Ahmad Nasir and Rana Afsar.

On the other hand, a group of over 13 independent chairmen from Multan city area, which operated under the banner of Multan Azad Group, has also announced to join the ruling party.

The members of the group include Khawaja Suleman Siddiqui, Zahid Adnan Guddu, Rao Mazhar ul Islam, Haji Rafiq Ahmad, Zahid Khan, Mahmood Ahmad, Saleem Ullah, Siddique Ansari, Rana Amjad Ali and others. The sources said that almost all those, who in the party were in fact rebels, got annoyed on denial of tickets and contested polls against the party candidates.

The manoeuvres by different PML-N groups to get their candidates nominated for the Mayor and Chairman District Council posts are in full swing. They disclosed that Mujahid Ali Shah, Wajid Ali Shah, Dewan Abbas Bokhari, Hasnain Bosan, Zulfiqar Dogar, Rana Shaukat Hayat Noon and Munawar Iqbal had submitted applications for chairman/vice chairman while Saed Ansari, Naved Arrain, Munawar Ehsan Qureshi, Ijaz Rajwana, Zahid Adnan Guddu, Akhtar Alam Qureshi, Rana Sajjad, Aslam Humayun, Nadem Akbar, Qaswar Bhatti and Imran Arshad deposited their applications for mayor/deputy mayor offices.

Initially, Ansari, Rana, Qureshi and Arrain groups nominated their candidates for the mayor and deputy mayor offices while Bosan, Dogar, Noon, Syed and Dewan Groups brought forth their men for chairman and vice chairman seats. However, the strength needed to win the big offices forced the groups to quit solo flights and make alliances.

The sources disclosed that Arrain and Qureshi groups have formed a new group while Rana and Ansari groups have formed another to get their candidates nominated.

“They have set very simple rule for the alliance. If the candidate of one group of an alliance is nominated by the party leadership for mayor or chairman office, all the other members of the alliance will support him while in return the deputy mayor or vice chairman candidate of the other member group will get support automatically,” party sources confided to this scribe.

Earlier, the Ansari Group had brought Haji Saeed Ansari, a former MPA, as its candidate for the mayoral post. He had won unopposed from UC-25 in recent local government polls. Similarly, the Qureshi Group fielded Munawar Ehsan Qureshi, who has also won unopposed from UC-60, as its candidate for the mayor office. He is son of MPA and former provincial minister Haji Ehsanuddin Qureshi while his group enjoys support from former MNA and city general secretary of PML-N Sheikh Tariq Rasheed.

Arrain Group is led by former provincial minister Ch Abdul Waheed Arrain, who has brought his younger brother Naveed Arrain as candidate for the mayor office. His group has won at least 10 union councils in recent election and thus became a very strong candidate for the office. Another probable for the mayor office is Ijaz Rajwana, who is nephew of Governor Rafiq Rajwana. Although he is not proposed by any group as its candidate, yet he is being considered a strong candidate for being a kin of the governor.

For the chairman office, three very strong groups known in local politics as Bosans, Syeds and Dewans are in the run. Another new contestant, who joined the race for the said post, is Zulfiqar Dogar, younger brother of MNA Abdul Ghaffar Dogar .

The Bosans are led by Federal Minister Haji Sikandar Hayat Bosan and they want to get Husnain Bosan nominated as PML-N candidate for the chairman office. The Syed Group was formed by MNA Syed Javed Ali Shah and the group has achieved big success in Shujabad Town of Multan in recent elections.

Syed Group has nominated Syed Mujahid Ali Shah, cousin of the group leader, as its candidate for the chairman office. The Dewan Group is based at Jalalpur Pirwala Town of Multan and MNA Dewan Ashiq Bokhari leads it. The Dewans have considerable influence in Jalalpur Pirwala area and they are making efforts to convince the party leadership to nominate Dewan Abbas Bokhari for the office.

A former MNA from Shujabad Town Rana Shaukat Hayat Noon, who is father of MPA Rana Ijaz Noon and head of Noon Group, is also candidate for the chairman post. Party sources said that talks were underway between Bosan and Shah groups for an alliance while Noon group was also in contact with Bosans. Similarly, Shah Group and Dogars are discussing possibilities for an alliance.