GUJRAT - The City is likely to witness a clash of the titans today (Wednesday), as 17 candidates are contesting the by-election in PP-111. The seat fell vacant when an election tribunal disqualified PML-N MPA Haji Nasir Mahmood on the ground that his degree was fake. The PML-N has fielded Haji Imran Zafar, nephew of the ex-MPA, while the PML-Qs candidate is former provincial education minister and four-time winner Mian Imran Masood who lost to Haji Nasir in 2008 elections by a margin of 15,000 votes. Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) candidate Mehr Asif Saleemi has boycotted the election to protest alleged interference by the provincial govt in the election process. Apparently, the PPP is supporting the PML-N candidate but Iftikhar Samman, a close friend of Defence Minister Ch Ahmed Mukhtar, is also in the run as an independent candidate. He is confident of getting the PPP vote. Earlier, Jamaat-i-Islami candidate Dr Tariq Salim had withdrawn in favour of the PML-Q candidate. There are 166,367 registered voters in the constituency. In 2008, turnout was 42 per cent, meaning 55,204 people cast their votes. Initially, the election campaign was somewhat colourless but with the passage of time, it got momentum and political temperature shot up. PML-Q leaders Ch Shujaat Hussain, Ch Pervaiz Elahi, Ch Wajahat Hussain and Ch Shafaat Hussain went door to door to woo annoyed friends and to win the favour of common people. Their strategy bore fruits and they have been able to draw attention. On the other hand, PML-N leadership sent its provincial leadership to Gujrat, which caused regular road blockade with headache in consequence for the people. It did not stop there, as bands of Punjab MPs, having links with Gujrat, visited the place to win favour of their relatives. It is quite interesting to note that Haji Nasir Mahmood won 2008 election in a solo fight while facing pressure of police and district administration, but this time around the PML-N leadership sent 'aliens to the city. During the campaign, none of the parties highlighted genuine issues; rather they resorted to emotional slogans and mudslinging tactics. PML-Q termed this election a battle for the honour and prestige of the locals, because the party leadership belongs to Gujrat. They termed PML-N a Lahori party, which wanted to conquer Gujrat. PML-N termed the by-poll as a war against the people, who were patronising land-grabbers and criminals. Though it is not in a difficult position it yet needs the PPP to defeat its rival by heavy margin. Meanwhile, Ahmed Mukhtar, who has been issuing statements that he would protect polling stations, has left for the United States, whereas PML-Q has also expressed apprehension that there may be rigging. To maintain law and order during the polling, the district administration has called heavy contingents of police from adjacent five districts while Rangers have also been deployed to counter any untoward situation.