(From left) PPP’s Nawab Yousuf Talpur is facing PML-N’s Mir Amanullah Talpur and PTI-backed Lalchand Malhi on NA-213.
(From left) PPP’s Nawab Yousuf Talpur is facing PML-N’s Mir Amanullah Talpur and PTI-backed Lalchand Malhi on NA-213.

• The district has one national and three provincial assembly seats
• Minority vote plays a decisive role

WHILE Umerkot district has always been considered as a stronghold of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), this time there would be interesting contests expected between rival candidates on one National Assembly and three provincial assembly seats — NA-213 Umerkot and PS-49 (Pithoro and Samaro), PS-50 (Umerkot-II) and PS-51 (Kunri) — during the Feb 8 general elections.

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), a total of 19 candidates are vying for NA-213. Prominent among them are Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur of the PPP-Parliamentarians, Mir Amanullah Talpur of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz who also enjoys support of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-backed Lalchand Malhi who is also supported by the Ghosia Jamaat of former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

The number of registered voters in the district is 589,350 compared to 461,867 in the previous elections of 2018. As many as 127,483 new voters have been registered. Total female voters are 278,379 while male voters are 310,921.

In 2018, the turnout stood at a whopping 68 per cent and PPP’s Nawab Yousuf Talpur had emerged victorious by bagging 162,979 votes against PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who got 104,267 votes. Nawab Talpur won with a margin of 58,712 votes, said to be the biggest lead in the country.

During the past six general elections i.e. from 1993 to 2018, Nawab Talpur had lost only once when Pir Noor Muhammad Shah Jeelani of the PML-N had defeated him in the 1997 general elections.

Umerkot has more than 50pc minority vote, which plays a decisive role in the victory of any candidate. Previous election trends suggest most minority community members preferred to vote for the PPP.

In the 2018 elections, Mir Amanullah Talpur backed Neelam Kumari as the PML-N candidate on the NA-213. However, she got only 5,000 votes. This time round, Mir Amanullah is contesting the polls by himself from the platform of the PML-N.

The constituency also has significant presence of Punjabis, who had been voting for the PML-N in all previous elections. However, in the previous general election, it appeared that they swung in favour of the PPP.

The third important candidate in the constituency is PTI-backed Lalchand Malhi. He was previously elected MNA on a reserved seat from the platform of the PTI. Being himself a member of the minority community, it is widely expected that he may gain good number of votes in taluka Samaro, Dhoronaro and Ghulam Nabi Shah and city Umerkot.

As he is also backed by Ghosia Jamaat, it is expected that disciples of Shah Mehmood Qureshi as well as new voters may vote for him.

PS-49

A total of 23 candidates are contesting in this constituency. The registered number of votes is 296,677. This time former education and culture minister Syed Sardar Shah of the PPP, former MPA and disciple of Sarwari Jamaat Ali Murad Rajar as independent, Khizer Hayat Mangrio of GDA and Akbar Palli of the PTI supported by Ghosia Jamaat are in the run.

PPP’s Sardar Shah had won the 2018 general election by securing 56,657 votes against GDA’s Faquir Jadam Mangrio who got 29,016 votes.

Independent candidate Mr Rajar may give a tough time to Sardar Shah, as he enjoys support of the Rajar community as well as followers of Sarwari Jamaat.

PTI-backed Mr Palli can also put a tough fight as he is backed by Ghosia Jamaat.

This time, GDA’s Khizer Hayat is not considered as strong as his brother Jadam Mangrio was in the previous elections because he also got support from the PTI in the 2018 general elections.

PS-50

A total of 22 candidates are in the run. But favourites include PPP’s Syed Ameer Ali Shah, son of late Syed Ali Mardan Shah; Lekhraj Malhi of the the PTI; and GDA’s Ghulam Nabi Mangrio, brother of Qadir Bux Mangrio.

In the by-election held in 2021, Syed Ameer Ali Shah had defeated former chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim by securing 58,968 votes against Arbab’s 30,832.

In the 2018 general election, Ameer’s late father, Syed Ali Mardan Shah, had also defeated ex-CM Arbab. However, he had lost twice in 1990 and 1997 against Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah of the PML-F.

PS-51

A total of 10 candidates are contesting here and prominent candidates are Nawab Taimur Talpur, son of Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur, and Dr Dost Muhammad Memon of the GDA.

Taimur Talput had swept the 2008, 2013 and 2018 general elections in this constituency.

GDA’s Memon may get some votes from business community in the city of Kunri; otherwise Taimur Talpue is considered as the favourite candidate here.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2024

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