LAHORE: NA-120 wore green, red, black, white colours as the panaflexes, banners and streamers fluttered and welcomed voters for the by-election which was being projected as yardstick to gauge the popularity of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N in comparison with Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

The posters also carried names and pictures of local leaders who had funded the advertisement material.

Surprisingly, there were banners and streamers that carried pictures or party leaders belonging to other provinces and districts like the PTI’s Arif Alvi from Karachi and S.A. Hameed from Gujranwala and the PML-N’s Amir Muqam from Khyber Pakhtunkwa.

A PTI worker at a polling camp told Dawn that the banners, panaflexes and streamers were generally funded by the party but the party workers and office-bearers, having their pictures on the advertisement material, had also contributed.

“The streamers having pictures of senior party leaders from other provinces were funded by the local leaders to show their love and strengthen their relations at central level,” he said.

The parties, particularly the PML-N and PTI, had also put in special efforts in preparing ‘parchies’ to facilitate the voters in finding their vote numbers as well as polling stations.

The PPP showed its presence in the by-election by displaying banners, panaflexes and establishing polling camps though most of them were deserted by the middle of the day.

Expressing resentment against too much advertisement and use of luxury vehicles, PPP candidate Faisal Mir said the constituency’s scene showed that the election had become a ball-game of the filthy rich.

The Milli Muslim League and Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah parties had also set up their polling camps and they were fully involved in election activities.

A PML-N activist said that this by-election was a battle to decide what was right and what was wrong.

“We will be celebrating the victory of truth after the announcement of election results in the evening,” he said.

Besides advertisements, the two leading political parties’ workers were also having big sound systems on their luxury vehicles and playing their party songs besides resorting to sloganeering to counter their opponents.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2017

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