LAHORE -  By-election in NA-120 (Lahore-III) constituency proved a tough contest as compared to earlier claims made by different quarters that it could be a royal road for Begum Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif.

According to unofficial results, Kulsoom Nawaz of the PML-N secured 61,254 votes and remained victorious while PTI’s Yasmin Rashid got 47,066 votes. Interestingly, PPP, which once used to be a dominant party in the constituency, only managed to secure 2,520. Sheikh Yaqoob, an independent candidate backed by a newly-emerged Milli Muslim League which was formed just about a month ago, bagged 4,174 and remained the second runner up.

Thousands on Sunday lined up outside polling stations to determine the winner of NA-120, the constituency of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, which lies in the heartland of Punjab, Lahore.

Historically, the constituency had been the stronghold of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The party had won the National Assembly seats from this constituency (the then NA-86) in 1972 and 1977.

The constituency was redrawn as NA-95 in 1988 and as NA-120 in 2002 and has since 1985 been the stronghold of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

NA-120 (Lahore-III) covers areas ranging from Mozang to Malianwala. The voter class comprises mostly of proletariat with 56 per cent being male voters and 44 per cent female voters, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The constituency as of today boasts almost 321,000 registered voters after ECP added 24,000 voters to the existing 297,000.

“The number of registered voters went up by over 15 percent between 2002 and 2008, increasing from 232,800 to 268,552. The number increased to another 10 percent between 2008 and 2013, going up to 295,826 registered voters,” according to FAFEN.

Traditionally, voter turnout has been low.

“The turnout increased from 31.3 percent in 2002 to 36.3 percent in 2008. The turnout increased significantly between 2008 and 2013, up by 15.6 percent from 36.3 percent in 2008 to 51.9 percent in 2013,” according to FAFEN.

Forty-four candidates contested yesterday’s election. According to local media reports, 32 of the 44 were independent while the remaining 12 were contesting on party tickets. Following were the key candidates:

Kalsoom Nawaz

The wife of Nawaz Sharif, Kalsoom Nawaz, has never run for office. Her selection as the PML-N candidate garnered controversy and several pleas were filed in the Lahore High Court against her candidature before they were eventually dismissed. She was ruled out of the campaign process owing to lymphoma.

Yasmin Rashid

A former lecturer at King Edward Medical College, Dr Yasmin Rashid of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) bagged almost 53,000 votes in the 2013 elections, coming second to Nawaz Sharif, who took the lead with a whopping 92,000 votes. She carried out an aggressive door-to-door campaign.

Faisal Mir

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate made headlines during the election campaign when he had a team of paramedics collect blood samples of voters and promised them medical treatment in future.

Kulsoom Nawaz of the PML-N secured 61,254 votes while PTI’s Yasmin Rashid got 47,066. Interestingly, PPP, which once used to be a dominant party in the constituency, only managed to secure 2,520. Sheikh Yaqoob, an independent candidate backed by a newly-emerged Milli Muslim League which was formed just about a month ago, bagged 4,174.