BADIN: While the candidate of the Pakistan Peoples Party secured more votes than his rival in re-polling on 37 polling stations of a provincial assembly constituency (PS-59) in Badin on Tuesday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate Ismail Rahu managed to win the seat because of his previous lead on the remaining 83 polling stations.
According to unofficial results, Mr Rahu, the provincial president of the Sindh chapter of the PML-N, bagged 8,923 votes, while his rival — Mohammad Nawaz Chandio of the PPP — got 13,047 votes in the re-polling, which was held peacefully on 37 of the total 120 polling stations in the constituency that falls in Badin and Tando Mohammad Khan districts.
In the remaining 83 polling stations, the total number of votes Mr Rahu previously got was 26,957 against his rival’s 20,844 votes.
After adding today’s votes, Mr Rahu won the seat with a margin of 1,989 votes, as he secured 35,880 votes and his rival got 33,891 votes on all the 120 polling stations, according to the unofficial results.
Disgruntled PPP leader Dr Zulfikar Mirza also backed Mr Rahu, who lost the 2013 general elections with a narrow margin. He challenged the result before an election tribunal which later ordered re-polling after finding irregularities. The PPP’s Chandio had challenged the tribunal’s verdict before the apex court, which upheld the decision.
Heavy contingents of police and paramilitary Rangers were deployed in the constituency, where 19 polling stations had been declared ‘most sensitive’ and 12 ‘sensitive’.
Personnel of Rangers performed duty inside and outside of the polling stations.
There were no complaints of rigging from any side. However, there were some minor incidents between voters and polling agents of the contesting candidates at a few polling stations. At Fatehabad polling station, polling was stopped for about an hour.
A very low turnout of voters was witnessed till afternoon, but later the candidates managed to bring their voters to polling stations.
Soon after the announcement of unofficial results, workers and supporters of the PML-N and its ally, Dr Mirza, took to the streets in Golarchi, Badin, Tando Bago, Talhar, Kario Ghanwar, Matli, Pangrio, Khoski and other towns to celebrate the victory of Mr Rahu.
Talking to reporters at his village Rahuki, Mr Rahu thanked the leadership of his party and Dr Mirza. He warned of serious consequences if results were changed through the district returning officer or the assistant returning officers.
Earlier in the day, Dr Mirza also visited different polling stations in the constituency.
He told local journalists that he was happy to hear the allegation from PPP leaders that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan helped his party leader Rahu in the election. He said the interior minister with the deployment of Rangers not allowed the PPP to rig the elections.
He said Muttahida Qaumi Movement dissident Syed Mustafa Kamal had a bright future if he continued to represent the voice of Urdu-speaking people.
The former home minister said the Urdu-speaking community desperately needed a committed leadership to steer them out of the political crisis caused by what he described as the politics of terrorism pursued by Altaf Hussain and his aides.
He claimed that former president Asif Ali Zardari was terrified of the army chief and would never return to the country as long as General Raheel Sharif was in office.
Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2016