The provincial leadership of PPP KPK wants Bilawal Bhutto to contest the July 25th general elections from NA-8 Malakand. According to the party sources, the main reason behind this decision of the PPP provincial leadership is to overcome the differences and infighting in the party.
The provincial party president Humayun Khan is facing serious resistance from senior party leader and former federal minister Lal Mohammad Khan who has established a parallel organisation in this district. The senior party leaders including Asif Zardari tried to overcome the differences and infighting in the party, but all efforts failed.
In this situation in which party is bitterly divided among two groups, it is not possible for the local leadership to put up a consensus candidate in the constituency and to show a good result. By requesting PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to contest the July 25th general election from the National Assembly constituency, NA-8 Malakand, the party leadership in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is trying to save its skin, help resolve differences in the party and ensure success of candidates.
Though Malakand in the past used to call ‘mini Larkana’ due to the solid PPP vote-bank in the district, other political parties also won elections from there in the past. The constituency has witnessed tough contests among the candidates of major political parties, though the main contestants earlier used to be from PPP and Jamaat-i-Islami.
Jamaat-i-Islami’s Maulana Inayatur Rehman was elected from Malakand on the MMA ticket in 2002 general election with 37,663 votes while Lal Mohammad Khan of PPP won the seat in 2008 with 34,472 votes.
PML-N’s Haji Mohammad Khan, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Bakhtiar Mani, and PPP’s Ahmad Hassan Khan, Malik Muzafar Khan and Mohammad Hanif Khan were also elected in the past, but the electorate recalled that the constituency was then spread up to Timergara in Lower Dir district but it has now been bifurcated.
The PPP dissidents recalled that the area was called as ‘mini Larkana’ during the life of the late Hanif Khan, father of PPP provincial President Humayun Khan, but now the situation has changed. It no longer is guaranteed victory from Malakand.
The voters in this constituency enumerate the development projects, mostly on electrification and supply of natural gas, carried out by the PML-N government. This has strengthened the PML-N position, though the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government also carried out development work through its MNA Junaid Akbar and MPS Shakeel Ahmad.
PPP MPA Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha, who has been winning his provincial assembly seat, maintains contacts with the voters besides completing various development projects even during the PTI rule. He would mobilize all resources and manpower for Bilawal in the election even though he could not stop the dissidents from establishing parallel party organization.
The dissidents said that fielding Bilawal Bhutto from Malakand could be the best strategy of the provincial leaders to block the way of veteran politician Lal Mohammad Khan but also motivate the otherwise least interested workers to take part in the election campaign. However, the dissidents pointed out that pro-PPP votes alone won’t be enough to enable Bilawal to win from NA-8 Malakand. They said every effort would have to be made to ensure that Bilawal doesn’t lose from this constituency.
It is going to be a tough and interesting contest between Bilawal Bhutto, PML-N, PTI and MMA candidates. PPP local leadership and organisations will have to work very hard to clinch victory in this constituency.
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