Candidates limit election campaigns

LAHORE: The heavy downpour that lashed the provincial capital not only cooled down the scorching summer but also slowed down the heated election campaign as political activities came to a halt.

Many activities, including corner meetings and door-to-door campaigns of candidates for the General Elections 2018, came to a grinding halt with heavy rainfall on Tuesday. Most of the candidates postponed their campaign activities, while others resorted to limiting themselves to only indoor meetings.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Rehan Baig, a political activist for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said a political programme was scheduled for the area, but it was postponed due to rain. “Our area mostly consists of markets and business centres in the township market and both the candidates of the party for the national and the provincial assemblies were to visit the area and scheduled meetings with the presidents of different markets,” he explained.

Baig’s constituency is part of NA-133 and the provincial assembly’s PP-137. The candidates who were to visit included NA seat candidate Pervaiz Malik and provincial assembly hopeful Mian Saleem. Baig said the presidents of 14 markets of the area had invited the candidates and it was planned to be a large gathering. “However, the rainstorm ruined the plan,” he said, adding that the NA candidate visited the area to offer Fateha for a deceased in the area. However, he could not hold the planned meeting.

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Apart from the setback to the campaign, various banners, flags and promotional material of candidates for the elections were also destroyed. Many roads and streets had what was left of the torn promotional material hanging or drifting in rainwater.

In another part of the city, the candidates consigned themselves to just meeting people in their dera instead of the planned door-to-door campaigns. Irshad, a campaigner for an independent candidate in NA-136 and PP-171, said they had to cancel their door-to-door campaign because of the rain. He said in his area, the workers had resorted to holding indoor meetings and people met the candidates at different places.

“There is a lot of water everywhere. Naturally, we had to limit campaign activities which will restart once the water recedes,” he said

In NA-134, a corner meeting was organised but was cancelled due to the rain. Malik Salman Ayub, a campaigner for the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) candidates, said the corner meeting was cancelled but candidates were doing a limited door-to-door campaign in a part of the constituency.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2018.

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