PESHAWAR: The campaign for the upcoming local bodies polls has gathered momentum in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with publicity materials dotted around 17 districts of the province where the first phase of polls is set to be held on Dec 19.
As the elections approach, the candidates — especially those running for village councils and neighbourhood councils (VCNCs) — have bent all their efforts to reach as many voters as possible.
Nasir Khan, a local leader of the Awami National Party, said the election campaign had been dominated by the candidates contesting for VCNCs, the lowest tier of the local government system, as compared to those running for tehsil councils.
At the VCNC level, a candidate was contesting almost from each street, which had made the campaign interesting and much competitive, he said.
He said a tough contest was expected on three general seats of each VCNC and each seat of youth, women, peasants, and the minority.
In the first phase of elections, polling will be held on Dec 19 for two tiers of the local bodies, while the elections will take place in the remaining 18 districts on Jan 16, 2022.
A total of 19,282 candidates are contesting for the seats of general councillors at 2,359 VCNCs, while the number of women candidates is 3,905 for the same number of VCNCs.
Similarly, 7,513 candidates are running for peasant/worker seats, 290 for the youth, and 282 for the minority. Besides, 689 candidates are contesting for the seats of mayor or chairman of 63 tehsil councils of KP’s 17 districts.
The districts where elections will be held on Dec 19 are Buner, Bajaur, Swabi, Peshawar, Nowshera, Kohat, Karak, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Tank, Haripur, Khyber, Mohmand, Charsadda, Mardan, Hangu and Lakki Marwat.
The cities and rural areas are covered with hoardings, banners and posters with pictures of the candidates, their leaders and supporters.
“Besides door-to-door canvassing, we are also holding corner meetings,” Nowsherwan Khan, a general councillor candidate from Ghari Qamardin-I neighbourhood council, told Dawn.
Mr Khan, who is contesting the election as an independent, said that besides other electoral publicity materials, he and his supporters had also been using social media for the campaign.
The use of social media, especially Facebook, was playing an important role in the election campaign at the VCNC level as most voters were connected to each other on social networking sites, he said.
“We have created WhatsApp groups where we upload all campaign-related activities and ask the members to share the messages with their friends and also suggest improvements,” said Ismail Khan, a supporter of a general councillor candidate from Hazarkhwani-II neighbourhood.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2021