PPP Dominant In Thatta, Sujawal And Badin LG Polls Despite Low Turnout

PPP Dominant In Thatta, Sujawal And Badin LG Polls Despite Low Turnout
THATTA: "What should we expect from elections when we are struggling for every meal?", asked Mumal Malah who did not seem eager to go cast her vote in the Var area on Sunday, as the turnout remained lower than anticipated in districts Thatta and Sujawal.

The reason behind the dismal turnout in these parts of Sindh was not dissimilar to the overall mood of the country. High inflation particularly overshadowed the glamour of local body elections in the coastal districts.

Talking to The Friday Times, senior columnist Zahid Ishaque Soomro brought forth multiple reasons behind the election dynamics seen so far. He was of the opinion that pre-election settlements among the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and local political and religious groups probably marred the usual flavour of elections. Moreover, hopelessness on the part of common folk – amidst worsening crises and an especially bitter winter – also dampened the local bodies' poll turnout.

It would be appropriate to mention here that the temperature remained between 6°C and 8°C throughout Sunday, which likely prevented females as well as elderly voters from reaching the polling stations. Many stations are established at a considerable distance from voters' villages.

Bachal Laghari of Sujawal said that in the past, the village or tribal patriarch of would collude with contesting candidates to arrange vehicles as well as tasty meals for the voters. But this time, there was no such arrangement in their village, because he surmised that there wasn't any real electoral contest in district Sujawal.
PPP was visibly leading in the polls towards the end of the day in both Thatta and Sujawal

Votes were polled in a peaceful atmosphere across district Thatta and Sujawal. One incident was reported from Jati town of district Sujawal, where a local PPP leader reportedly slapped a journalist when the latter was allegedly making a video at a polling booth designated for females. This action of the PPP leader was widely deplored.

The Mirza group of Badin confronted a humiliating defeat in their home district at the hands of PPP candidates. The names of former Sindh home minister Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza and his wife, former speaker national assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza, had been excluded from the voters list, so the couple accused their opponents of depriving them of their constitutional right to vote. As per reports, PPP had been trounced with a high margin in Dadu and Mehar.

152 PPP candidates had been declared victorious unopposed from Thatta before election day, while the number of candidates winning unopposed from Sujawal was 136.

The Pakistan People's Party won all seats of Mirpur Bathoro, Makli and Darro town committees, while the candidate of Jamaat-e-Islami managed to overcome his PPP rival in ward number 5 of town committee Sujawal.

Defeat of PPP candidate Faraz Laghari, who is said to be the nephew of deputy speaker Sindh Assembly Rehana Laghari, at the hands of independent candidate Shah Hussain Sheikh came as a nasty blow for the PPP's Sujawal chapter. However, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Syed Imran Ali Shah told this correspondent that Shah Hussain Sheikh had the backing of those local PPP leaders who had developed differences with the Sindh deputy speaker.

According to reports from Makli, PPP had emerged victorious from all seats of Thatta town and municipal committee, while from Jati the PPP's Ghulam Mustafa Siyal seized victory with a heavy margin of votes. Asad Khowaja and Usman Kumbhar of PPP alsk won their seats of town committee Gharo and Sakro, respectively.

Meanwhile, PPP was in the lead at Var, Ghorabari and Junghshai areas of Thatta till the filing of this report.

The author is a practicing lawyer and freelance journalist. His areas of interest are cultural diversity and socio-political issues of Sindh.