ISLAMABAD: Though there are a total of nine contesting candidates for the keenly-awaited bye-poll bout in NA-205, Ghotki-II, the real contest is expected to be on July 23 (today) between two Mahars, tossed up by PPP and other being backed by PTI. According to the ECP’s data, there are 360,875 registered voters in this constituency and of these, 204,980 are males and remaining 155,895 are females.
The total number of polling stations is 290 and 125 of these are highly sensitive and 164 have been declared sensitive ones. The name of PTI-backed independent candidate is Ahmad Ali Mahar while PPP has fielded Sardar Muhammad Bux Khan Mahar while seven others are vying for the seat as independent candidates: their names are Ikramullah, Ehsanullah, Zafarul Haq Siddiqui, Haji Khan Mahar, Bangul Mahar, Abdul Bari Pitfai and Imdad Ali.
Interestingly, in the last year’s general election too, there were nine candidates while Ali Muhammad Mahar had pocketed 71,943 votes as independent and returned from his constituency and his closest rival was then PPP’s Ehsanullah, who had received 41843 votes, followed by MMA’s Abdul Qadoos with 36956 votes. Mahar afterwards became part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s federal cabinet.
The ECP has also established a control room with regards to the Tuesday’s electoral exercise, which both PTI and PPP would try to outdo the rest more as symbolic upper edge than increasing the tally of seats in the National Assembly.
There have been hiccups prior to the upcoming by-election in this constituency and even the ECP had to extend the date of polling from July 19 to July 23. And, it had cited the SHC, Sukkur Bench judgment for delaying the poll exercise.