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PPP enters Rawalpindi LG election in disguise

PPP enters Rawalpindi LG election in disguise

RAWALPINDI: In the race for LG elections in the city, the local PPP will be the oddest participant as its own leaders will be contesting not under the party flag but as independents.

Dispirited PPP workers see it as a sign that the leaders feel they are more popular and credible in their individual capacity than the party.

“What a fall for a party which was once sought after by aspiring politicians,” said one worker.

An old party leader noted that the local PPP made seat-to-seat adjustments in seven union councils of the city with the PML-N and in 10 union councils with the PTI, citing paucity of PPP candidates. “Who would be willing to use the PPP platform for fighting election if the party’s own leaders shy away from that?” he asked.

In other 46 union councils, he said, the PPP awarded tickets to 13 panels comprising “members not popular enough in their areas”.

Former Rawalpindi PPP spokesman, Nasir Mir, is among the PPP members who have been “allowed by the party” to fight the November 30 election as an independent.

Asked by Dawn about the party’s state of affairs, he said that he did not resign from the party to contest as independent.

“Neither did I apply for the party ticket as it would be easier for me to win the election without party affiliation in local politics,” he added.

It would be so because in its last tenure in power at the centre, the local PPP leaders were not able to carry out any welfare work for the people, he said.

“It was a policy decision of the PPP that people who are in a position to win will contest the local elections as independent candidates,” he said, claiming that such candidates promised in writing that they would declare their affiliation to the party after winning the election.

“Basically, the aim is to win the upcoming local elections by hook or by crook. The party symbol ‘Arrow’ is not significant for this purpose,” observed Nasir

Munir, admitting that the popularity of his party had “fallen a lot in the past seven years”.

“It will be difficult to get votes on party tickets. The local PPP allowed its senior leaders to contest as independent candidates and did not field any panel in their union councils,” he added.

Nasir Munir, formerly Naib Nazim and Opposition leader in Rawal Town, is contesting the election in Union Council 1 Ratta Amral.

Other prominent so-called PPP independents are Anjum Farooq Paracha, brother of Amir Fida Paracha, president Rawalpindi PPP and In charge of PPP Central Office in Islamabad, contesting in Union Council 39 Chittian Hattian. Raja Sajid is contesting in Union Council 4 Dhoke Mangtal. He is the brother of the former deputy mayor of Rawalpindi, Raja Altaf.

Similarly Rawalpindi PPP Vice President Mohammad Shahid, alias Pappu, is contesting in Union Council 32 Amarpura, former Naib Nazim Rana Rifaqaat Ali Khan in Union Council 38 Akalgarh, Chaudhry Banaras in Union Council 31 Glass Factory and Jameel Qureshi in Union Council 28 Band Khana Road.

Ironically, the PPP has not fielded even a veiled candidate in Union Council 40 which was once considered its stronghold and returned its candidate in the last two LG polls. Now Sheikh Rashid’s Lal Haveli dominates the union council.

Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2015

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