GUJRAT: Wazirabad, the city of cutlery, wears elections colors as an army of political lieutenants from different parties have been working overtime on the streets and in adjoining rural areas of the town for over a week.

They are part of electioneering for the Feb 19 by-polls for PP-51, which will end late Feb 17. The seat was vacated after the death of PML-N MPA Shaukat Manzoor Cheema last year.

PML-N’s Talat Shaukat Cheema (widow of the former MPA), PTI’s Yousaf Araen, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Nasir Mehmood Kalair and TLP’s Sufi Nasir Jowinda are in the run for the seat.

The nominees of the PML-N and the PTI are, however, putting in great efforts to lure voters by engaging lawmakers, former ticket holders, and party officials from Gujrat, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Hafi zabad and Mandi Bahauddin. Sources say a Punjab minister remained in Wazirabad for the campaign of the ruling party candidate for many days whereas other ministers and senior officials of the provincial and federal governments also held meetings with the notables of the area on different days.

They have entertained the demands of the people to muster their support for the PTI candidate. They said Chief Minister Usman Buzdar would visit Gakhar Mandi on Wednesday and the visit may influence theposition of the PTI campaign in Wazirabad. Though Gakhar Mandi is not part of the PP-51 constituency, the town is a second major urban center of Wazirabad tehsil.

PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz also delivered fi ery speeches in Wazirabad city and Sohdra. JI emir Senator Sirajul Haq also spoke to an election rally in Wazirabad on Feb 14. A local official of the Cutlery and Stainless Utensils Makers Association said that the government had accepted their long-standing demands regarding provision of facilities in industrial estates and arranging training for human resources of the local cutlery industry.

Being happy with the government, the cutlery industry has arranged a labour convention in support of PTI candidate. Ali Cheema, a resident of the constituency, said that the position of PTI candidate had improved in the last couple of weeks after the government resolved their long standing issues, which the PML-N never resolved despite being in power for consecutive two terms.

Now, the people think that giving vote to the ruling party may resolve the issues.Former MPA Ijaz Samman, Punjab PPP vice president, who withdrew his nomination papers, said that the PML-N would have to bring out its voters and be vigilant at polling stations keeping in view the hectic efforts of the “state machinery in favour of ruling party”.

Some local analysts said that the price hike, unemployment, and governance haunted the ruling party candidate in the campaign. The PML N has been winning the Wazirabad seat for the last three times, however, the PTI being in power is in a better position to give a tough fight to the PML-N.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2021

Opinion

Women and autism
16 Apr 2021

Women and autism

Different assessment tools are needed to define and measure the subtle ways in which autistic women cope with the world around
Beyond the ban
Updated 16 Apr 2021

Beyond the ban

Formal bans do not translate into substantial dents.

Editorial

Ban is no answer
Updated 16 Apr 2021

Ban is no answer

The ban will not dilute the narrative that fuels the party, it may even fan it.
16 Apr 2021

Slow recovery

THE pace of growth in large-scale manufacturing output continues to slow down, with LSM production contracting by...
16 Apr 2021

Ramazan profiteering

WITH the month of Ramazan underway, people have begun to feel the effects of galloping inflation even more. Prices...
Afghanistan exit
Updated 15 Apr 2021

Afghanistan exit

Afghanistan has suffered for decades as powerful local players have refused to compromise and have insisted on hogging power.
15 Apr 2021

New census

EARLIER this week, the Council of Common Interests approved the controversial National Population and Housing ...
15 Apr 2021

With no place to go

No matter where one looks, one can’t escape the heartrending sight of scores of children of all ages begging, ...