SWABI: While the top-tier political leadership of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa debates the irregularities of the local government polls, politicking at the grass-roots level has gained momentum as parties look to defy numbers and establish the maximum number of district, tehsil and town governments.
Awami National Party and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl stepped into the Swabi LG battleground hand-in-hand, thanks to the tripartite alliance of opposition parties that also includes Pakistan Peoples Party. Following the May 30 polls, the alliance has emerged as Swabi’s dominant force with the remaining parties settling for smaller victories.
The alliance is set to remain intact during the district and tehsil electioneering. The number game, as of now, indicates ANP is leading the line with 21 seats out of Swabi’s 53 union council seats. Asfandyar’s men are followed by JUI-F which managed to win seven seats, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf with six, Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan with five, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Qaumi Watan Party and Jamaat-e-Islami with two each and Swabi Qaumi Mahaz managed to win one seat. Meanwhile, seven independent candidates won in their respective UCs.
With JUI-F on board, it is safe to assume the ANP will form the district government. “Although we are in a strong position, we will try reaching a consensus with our allies,” said ANP Swabi district president Amir Rahman, adding negotiations with PML-N, JI and QWP are also under way. “We welcome all parties, including the PTI, to join hands with us and work for the betterment of the people,” he added.
While the numbers have somewhat defined a lot for the future, independents have not lost their relevance. While earlier one independent candidate defected to ANP and JI each, the remaining seven are still weighing up offers from different parties.
Thanks to a significant comeback, the ANP can comfortably form its tehsil government in Razzar and secure the lion’s share in the Swabi tehsil set-up. On the other hand, the JUI-F has already been given the green light to establish its government in Lahor tehsil.
What remains of Swabi’s four tehsils – Topi – is up for grabs with PTI counting on the tripartite alliance’s support to help the party save face in K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser’s native district.
Both PTI and AJIP, by and large, failed to retain the footprint they had gained in the district during the 2013 general elections.
Published in The Express Tribune