MULTAN: In a display of ‘political sagacity’ ahead of the local polls, residents of Basti Baghwali have conducted an election of their own to select one of the two aspirants for the actual contest “to have better chance of winning”.
The political activists set up two polling stations (one each for men and women) to ‘elect’ the candidate for general councillor slot in Khanewal’s Union Council 116.
Rana Umerdraz and his nephew Rana Shafqat had submitted their nomination papers for general councillor that were accepted. The elders of the Rana family asked them that one of them should withdraw his nomination papers as in case of both candidates being in the run, the caste vote could divide and both could lose the seat and there would be no one to represent the village in the union council.
The two aspirants refused to withdraw their papers after which it was decided that an exercise would be held in the village to elect one of the candidates -- an idea both of them endorsed after initial reluctance. Accordingly, two separate polling booths were established on Monday and Rao Ghulam Murtaza was appointed presiding officer. A total of 104 votes were polled out of which Rana Shafqat got 60 and his opponent Umerdraz 44.
The exercise was conducted in a congenial atmosphere and Umerdraz accepted people’s verdict and garlanded Shafqat, wishing him best of luck for the contest. Both groups danced to the beat of drum and pledged to work for the success of the candidate.
Umerdraz said he was happy about the decision and would play his role for the victory of his nephew. The Election Commission of Pakistan has proposed the local government election in Khanewal on Nov 19.
Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2015