KARACHI: Likewise whole country, Sindh is all set to witness elections on its 61 National Assembly and 130 Sindh Assembly seats, where PPP remains the strongest political party.
Out of 342 National Assembly seats, 75 seats fall in Sindh. Of which, 61 are general seats while 14 seats are reserved for women. There are 168 seats of provincial assembly seats. Of which, 130 are general seats, 29 seats are reserved for women while nine seats are kept for the minorities.
Despite of having its poor performance in other provinces, Pakistan People’s Party led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari still remains the majority political party in the province. In Karachi, Muttahida Qaumi Movement still holds the strong vote bank.
After PPP and MQM, Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), a group of nationalist parties, has emerged the prominent force that is likely to take away few seats from the PPP. GDA includes Muslim League (Functional) of Pir Pagara while two farmer chief ministers of Sindh; Arbab Ghulam Rahim and Liaquat Ali Jatoi. Arbab has remained famous for his actions against Pakistan Peoples’ Party.
Likewise creating hurdles against Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) in Punjab, the angels are sidelining PPP and MQM in Sindh. Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) of former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal might grab few provincial seats in Karachi.
MQM, which has now become MQM Pakistan, is likely to get sympathy vote, as they have been cornered this time. However, their voters are there and they will be voting for Altaf Hussain, as one worker told The Business. “We are not voting for the local leaders. We are voting for Altaf Hussain and MQM is Altaf Hussain,” he said.
There has been a lot of criticism on GDA in social media, as it is joining hands with MQM, which is demanding separate province and majority of Sindhi speaking people are opposed to such notion.
In rural parts of the province, people still don’t have any other option against PPP, as GDA’s feudal lords and nationalists don’t possess a clear back ground. MQM’s separate province slogan has left it limited to few urban areas only. PML(N) has never played a serious role in politics in Sindh. It’s veteran politician Ghous Ali Shah also parted his ways, as PML(N) was rather focused to Punjab only.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf is popular in Punjab and KPK but it has also played a very weak pitch in Sindh. Though it won few seats from Karachi in 2013, its candidates did not receive warm welcome in the city, as they never shown up after the elections.
PPP’s young leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is contesting elections for the first time but he is been seen as an emerging leader and there are hopes in the party that he would lead it towards major success. If not at this time at the national level, the PPP will again emerge as one of the leading party in next electoral. Though Bilawal saw some resentment from Lyari, PPP’s strong hold he is contesting election from, there are few chances of any other candidate to win from this constituency.
During the 2013 elections, PPP formed the govt in the province with simple majority. However, it also included MQM in the government, which was second largest majority party in the province. Looking at the flexibility of PPP in politics, there are chances it will be back again in the province. However, there are chances that both the PPP and MQM will have lesser seats this time.