Required to put in extra effort to keep the Larkana seat

ISLAMABAD: Former President Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal will win the two National Assembly seats of Sindh but their Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will have to work hard particularly in the Larkana constituency where the Bhuttos have never lost.
The PPP assisted by the Sindh government will be required to put in extra effort to keep the Larkana seat in view of the result of the electoral contest in this constituency in 2013 when the margin of victory of its cardholder was not very phenomenal and exceptional.
This is the area where Bhuttos including Benazir Bhutto and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto have traditionally consecutively carried the day owing to their unquestionable hold. However in 2013, a non-Bhutto, Mohammad Ayaz Soomro, was fielded who could bag just 50,128 votes. The performance of his rivals was no mean by any standards.
Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) nominee Mehtab Akbar Rashidi had secured 32,006 votes; Moazzam Ali Khan, independent, had clinched 28745 ballots; Ghinwa Bhutto of PPP-Shaheed Bhutto had got 4,936 votes; Ghulam Umar Unar, independent, had bagged 4,277 ballots; and another independent Mohammad Mohsan Mashor had secured 3,549 votes.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Bakht Jamal Chandio had got only 2187 votes while the PML-Nawaz had not fielded any contestant. It is evident from this data of the Election Commission of Pakistan that the picture is not very rosy for the PPP. The voter turnout was 47.51% whereas the constituency has a total of 299,653 registered voters. The voting percentage was comparatively less when viewed against the results in constituencies of Sindh in 2013 polls.
If all the anti-PPP elements make an electoral alliance, though a distant probability, Bilawal would have to do a lot of work to come out with flying colours. However, Zardari has much better prospects of winning in NA-213 Nawabshah, Zardari’s native district, if the last result of this constituency is considered a guide and is also repeated in 2017. His sister, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, was favoured by a whopping tally, 113,199 votes, leaving all of her challengers far behind.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Pakistan nominee Inayat Ali Rind had clinched 33,874 ballots; PML-F candidate Syed Zahid Hussain Shah had secured 25,223 votes; and Sardar Sher Muhammad Rind, independent, had bagged 16,485 ballots.
PTI ticketholder Gul Muhammad Keerio could muster just 2,520 votes while the PML-N had no candidate in the arena. The voter turnout, 54.81%, in this constituency was very high compared to that of NA-204.
The 2013 results of the two seats show that Pir Pagara’s PML-F, a part of the federal government having one federal ministry, has a sizeable following in both constituencies. The MQM has also a good say in one of them, NA-213.
In none of the constituencies, the so called Sindhi nationalists, who claim popularity, have anything to take pride due to their dismal performance in the elections.
Although Zardari and Bilawal have the Sindh government at their beck and call, it will be very difficult for the provincial administration to extend any major help because of involvement of the army and Rangers to supervise by-polls.
In Punjab and elsewhere in Pakistan, these forces were called in to oversee all the by-elections, held since 2013, with the provincial governments having been left with a little role to play through the district administrations especially on the polling day. The same arrangements are expected to be followed in Sindh as well.
Both the major political parties – PML-N and PTI – are unlikely to be actively involved in two by-elections to the Larkana and Nawabshah seats for different reasons, the principal being their little relevance there. They are also unexpected to make a grand alliance taking all the anti-PPP elements under one umbrella to put up a good fight to Zardari and Bilawal.

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