PP-97 Faisalabad by poll- Ali Afzal Sahi of PTI has slight edge against PML-N's Ajmal Cheema

 A neck to neck fight is expected in this constituency won by Ajmal Cheema as an independent candidate in 2018 with a margin of nearly 4,500 votes

PTI candidate Ali Afzal Sahi is leading with a narrow margin in PP-97 Faisalabad by poll. PML-N candidate Ajmal Cheema is trailing behind. In 2018 general elections, Ajmal Cheema defeated Ali Afzal Sahi with the margin of nearly 4,500 votes. Now in the by-elections, Ali Afzal Sahi has a fair chance of taking revenge from Ajmal Cheema.

There are two factors that are going against Ajmal Cheema. One is that he remained provincial minister for 44 months in PTI government and many voters are not happy with his performance. The second factor is the lack of interest of PML-N leaders in his campaign. Maryam Nawaz didn’t visit this constituency.

Some local PML-N leaders are also not actively involved in his campaign.   Despite these problems, a tough contest is being expected in PP-97. Tis constituency is mainly consists of Tehsil Chak Jhumrah of Faisalabad.

 It is a rural constituency dominated by Jut clan. Both the main candidates belong to Jut clan. The support of small clans could play a decisive role in a close contest. Elders and notables of the Jut clan are in a confusing situation to whom they will vote as both candidates have strong footages in their constituency.

 The Pakistan Muslim League-N awarded ticket to Ajmal Cheema by ignoring its previous candidate Azad Ali Tabbasum and Ali Afzal Sahi was fielded by PTI. Ali Afzal is the son of former Speaker Punjab Assembly Afzal Sahi.

In the last general elections, Muhammad Ajmal Cheema had won the PP-97 election as an independent candidate. He secured votes 42,273 and defeated Ali Afzal Sahi who obtained 37,932 votes. Azad Ali got 35,000 votes.

Former PPP MNA Tariq Mehmood Bajwa is also in the run as an independent candidate. He contested the last election on PPP ticket but could only manage 2,500 votes. He might be able to get more votes this time.

Ajmal Cheema joined the PTI due to Jahangir Khan Tareen. The seat of PP-97 is lying vacant as Ajmal Cheema was disqualified this year by the Election Commission of Pakistan as he ignored the party advice and cast his vote in favour Hamza Shahbaz for Chief Minister of Punjab.

Total numbers of polling stations in this constituency are 168, of them 68 for men, 64 for women and 36 are combined. The number of registered voters is approximately 2,38,452, with male voters 130,386 and female voters 1,08,066.

                                                               Khalid Bhatti insight247.news election cell

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