LAHORE - Top leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the two major contestants in the bye-polls for PP-81, Jhang, will challenge each other on Wednesday (toady) by staging show of force in the said constituency ahead of bye-elections.

The bye-polls in PP-81 were decided by the Election Commission after PML-N MPA, Iftikhar Baloch’s degree declared fake by a court of law.

According to PTI leaders from Jhang, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Ijaz Chaudhry, PTI vice chairman and Punjab president respectively will reach Jhang on Wednesday (today) in an effort to launch a big show of force to boost support of their candidate Rai Taimur Bhatti.

On the other hand, local PML-N leaders told this correspondent that Hamza Shahbaz Sharif will also be reaching Jhang today to stage a major show after which a political bigwig is expected to announce her group’s support for PML-N candidate.

Iftikhar Baloch’s uncle Muhammad Khan Baloch has been awarded PML-N ticket for the bye-polls.

The local political pundits while informing about new political alignments claimed that PML-N candidate could win with a big margin.

Informing about fresh electoral alignments in PP-81, they said out of 14 union councils of this constituency, three each was dominated by Bhatti and Baloch clans, while the remaining eight union councils consisted of Syeds, Lalis, Gadis and other clans.

They said the three Bhatti union councils include Kalri, Kot Ameer and Kariyawala of which nearly two union councils would support PML-N candidate, while ruling party’s contender would also grab major chunk of votes from three Baloch union councils including Mandi Shah Jewana, Nadagar and Chatta Bukusha.

The Bhattis who command authority in this constituency belong to the House of Thatta Umra, while leading Balochs belongs to Chatta Bukusha.

The House of Lalis is supporting the PML-N candidate, as they secured one National Assembly and one Punjab Assembly seat on PML-N ticket.

The members from the House of Syeds including, Makhdom Faisal Saleh Hayat, Abida Hussain and Syeds of Ratta have different choices concerning the PTI and PML-N contenders for PP-81, bye-elections, while the Gadis support percentage is divided between 70 to 30, as 70 on the side of the ruling party and 30 for the tide of tsunami.

The House of Syed Iftikhar Bukhari is expected to support the PTI contender.

According to the local political pundits, Makhdom Faisal Saleh Hayat is supporting PTI candidate Rai Taimur Bhatti against Lalis and Abida Hussain, while Syed from House of Ratta, Muhammad Abbas Shah has already joined the camp of ruling party after a recent meeting with Hamza Shahbaz Sharif through de-seated MPA, Iftikhar Baloch.

Members of ruling party’s campaign managers claimed that Hamza Shahbaz who would be visiting Jhang today, would meet Abida Hussain after the public meeting in which she would announce support for the PML-N candidate. Abida Hussain’s daughter, Syeda Sughra Imam is a sitting member of the Senate who got elected on PPP ticket.

However, Abida’s possible support for the PML-N candidate seen as a result of reply to her arch-rival, Faisal Saleh Hayat.

Giving supporting evidence concerning a comfortable win on part of the ruling party candidate said Ghulam Ahmed Gadi who was former MPA and could be a strong contender has left the electoral arena and was in Canada and would come back after by-elections.

They said Gadi left country when Muhammad Abbas Shah who was the runner up in 2013 general elections joined hands with the ruling party depriving him of a major chunk of support among the Syeds of Ratta and some surrounding areas.

According to the results of 2013 general polls in PP-81, PML-N’s Iftikhar Baloch secured 41,700 votes, Syed Mohammad Abbas Shah, an independent candidate bagged 35,936 and became runner up, while Ghulam Ahmad Khan Gadi, another independent candidate bagged 28,566 votes. Kawish Dewan Bhutta of PPP secured 2,907 votes, while PTI’s Asghar Ali Gujar secured only 820 votes.