Results for the by-election to the NA-193 Rajanpur-I constituency, held earlier today (Sunday), have started coming in, showing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) with a clear lead. The Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) Result Management System (RMS) reported nearly 78% of the results a little while before 10pm local time.
The unofficial and tentative results from 185 polling stations, out of a total of 237, show PTI candidate Mohsin Leghari leading with a comfortable margin, securing 71,604 votes so far. Ammar Leghari of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) has received 39,786 votes, while Akhtar Gorchani of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) managed to secure 14,224 votes till the filing of this report.
If this trend continues, Mohsin Leghari is expected to win the by-election with a decisive margin of 20,000 to 30,000 votes, which approximates to 5-8% of the total eligible votes in the NA-193 constituency.
According to the ECP, voting began at 8am local time and went on uninterrupted till 5pm. A control room had been set up at ECP headquarters to oversee the by-election and handle concerns about the polling process. The ECP had also prohibited news outlets from publishing the results before 6pm local time today.
Modest turnout, mild enthusiasm among voters
The voter turnout in Rajanpur was estimated at a modest 46% as per the unofficial results received from 185 polling stations, who reported the outcome through ECP at 9:50pm local time.
Speaking to The Friday Times (TFT), Kareem Ahmed Gorchani, a local farmer from Jampur, said that, “me and my family voted for Mohsin Leghari because he is not only the political scion of Jaffar Leghari who was there for us through thick and thin but he also fought the case for the creating of Jampur district during Parvez Elahi’s tenure.”
Agreeing with him, Ghulam Bibi, a 46-year-old widow, told TFT that Mohsin Leghari had left no stone unturned in addressing the problems faced by the people of Jampur and other areas of the constituency during PTI’s tenure. “He is a son of the soil and was always there for us in the need of the hour,” she concluded.
Tribal politics of Rajanpur
The NA-193 Rajanpur-I national assembly seat fell vacant after the death of Jaffar Leghari, a reputed political personality of the area who had been elected to the legislative seat a record five times. The constituency is a tribal seat on which close relatives were fighting against each other.
“Mohsin Leghari had the edge because he had PTI’s ticket and he was also declared the political heir of Jaffar Leghari who had won this seat record five times,” a local tribal leader said. He added that Mohsin was expected to win this seat with a “comfortable margin”, but Ammar Leghari and Akhtar Hassan Gorchani also conducted their election campaigns “pretty well”.
Political pundits said that it was Jaffar Leghari’s seat, and his political heir was up against a close relative from his own tribe. “Mohsin was expected to win after he was made the political heir of Jaffar Leghari by the family elders,” sources said.
Challenge for PMLN
A local journalist who has covered elections in south Punjab for decades told TFT that PMLN has yet to come up with better candidates from the grassroots level. He was of the view that PMLN must award tickets to someone who might be new but from amongst the people, in order to counter the popularity of Imran Khan.
“Maryam Nawaz has to revisit the strategy for the upcoming elections and has to award party tickets on merit if they want to save the party in the upcoming elections. Otherwise, the trend in all recent elections shows that PMLN is on the decline and would be wiped out in the next general elections,” a local leader of the Khosa tribe said.
This is a developing story…