Local govt by-polls 2018 — File/Photo

Why did coalition choose these nine constituencies for by-polls?

by Pakistan News
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Local govt by-polls 2018 — File/Photo

2022 might not be the election year former prime minister Imran Khan was hoping for, but it is, in a way, an election year, which will define politics in Pakistan.

For far, this year, back-to-back by-elections have been held on national and provincial assembly constituencies. And they were no small matter. The 20 by-polls in Punjab alone sent one government home, and brought another to power.

Now, the camera lens is zooming in on the nine constituencies of the National Assembly, which will be up for grabs on September 25. Out of the 131 resignations submitted by Khan’s PTI in April from Parliament, only 11 were accepted by the speaker. Minus the two seats reserved for women, the rest of the nine seats are contestable.

Khan insists that these constituencies were not chosen at random, but very carefully by his rivals, who are hoping to snatch them away from the PTI. In protest, the former sportsman and prime minister generated a media frenzy when he announced to contest all the seats alone, simultaneously, setting a new record for a candidate in an election.

But why were resignations from these nine constituencies accepted and others ignored?

The answer is simpler than you think. In these constituencies, the ruling alliance thinks it has an advantage, either because their combined voters are higher than that of the PTI or the electoral margin of victory was very low in 2018.

Let’s look at the data.

NA 22 – Mardan

In 2018, PTI’s Ali Muhammad Khan secured this constituency. He won 58,577 votes, defeating Muttahida Majlis–e–Amal’s (MMA) candidate Maulana Muhammad Qasim who bagged 56,318 votes.

Margin of victory: 2,259

While the candidate of the PML-N got 36,625 votes, PPP got 13,477 and the Awami National Party (ANP) got 27,104 votes. Add up the votes of the PML-N, PPP, ANP and MMA, who are all in alliance now, and the total is 133,524 votes, which is more than double the votes PTI received in 2018.

NA 24 – Charsadda

This was the constituency where ANP’s chief Asfandyar Wali Khan lost to PTI’s Fazal Muhammad Khan in 2018. Here, PTI managed to secure a comfortable win with 83,495 votes, defeating Wali Khan, who secured 59,483 votes.

Margin of victory: 24,012

Whereas the MMA, PPP and PML-N got 38,252, 10,462 and 1,363 respectively. This would bring the ruling alliance tally to 109,560 votes.

NA 31 – Peshawar

This is one seat where the PTI secured more votes than all the other political parties combined in 2018. Shaukat Ali of the PTI collected 87,895 votes, while the votes of his rivals together was 64,725. The MMA, PPP, PML-N and ANP secured 11,657 , 7,499 , 3,093 and 42,476 respectively.

Margin of victory: 45,449

NA 45 – Kurram Agency

In 2018, MMA’s Haji Munir Khan Orakzai won this constituency with 16,353 ballots. After his death due to Covid-19, the seat was up for re-election in 2021. PTI awarded the ticket to Fakhar Zaman, who had contested as an independent in 2018. While, Said Jamal, who was PTI’s candidate in 2018, ran as an independent in 2021 and came in third with 15,559 votes.

If Jamal’s 2021 tally is added to the votes received by JUI-F (15,761) and ANP (879), it brings the rivals vote bank to over 32,000.

Margin of victory: 1,150

NA 108 – Faisalabad

The former federal minister and a senior PTI leader, Farrukh Habib, won this constituency with a very narrow margin in 2018, by securing 112,740 votes. Whereas, PML-N’s Abid Sher Ali bagged 111,529 votes.

The PPP and MMA received 4,987 and 1,827 votes respectively. The combined votes of the ruling alliance stood around 118,343.

Margin of victory: 1,211

NA 118 – Nankana

PTI’s Ijaz Shah won with a final vote count of 63,818 in 2018. While PML-N’s Shezra Mansib Ali stood second with 61,413, and the PPP secured 18,726 votes.

When added, the votes of the PPP and PML-N come to an estimated 80,139. But interestingly, the right wing Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan also fared very well in this constituency in 2018, by securing 49,345 votes and ranked in third.

Margin of victory: 2,405

NA 237 – Karachi

PTI’s Jamil Ahmed Khan got 33,280 votes in 2018 and won NA 237 Karachi for his party.

Meanwhile, the PPP secured 31,907 votes, the PML-N 14,099, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) 11,251 and MMA 5,168. Combined, the votes of these political parties that are rivals of the PTI should come to around 62,425 votes.

Margin of victory: 1,373

NA 239 – Karachi

PTI’s Muhammad Akram Cheema succeeded here in 2018 by winning 69,161 votes. But his rival the MQM-P got 68,811.

And the PML-N, MMA and PPP got 19,616 , 12,290 and 11,887 votes respectively. When combined, the total votes which were cast against PTI were 112,604.

Margin of victory: 350

But this is another constituency where in 2018, the TLP racked in over 30,000 votes.

NA 246 – Karachi

Abdul Shakoor Shad surprised everyone by taking this prize for the PTI in 2018 with 52,750 votes. While, his rivals back then got a total of 101,331 total votes. Out of which the PPP secured 39,325 , MMA got 33,078 votes, PML-N 19,077 and MQM-P 9,851 votes.

Margin of victory: 13,425

Munir is a freelance journalist based in Lahore.

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