After the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) released the election schedule for the vacant seats in the Punjab Assembly, the candidates of all major political parties came out in the field.
According to sources, former provincial minister Ajmal Cheema’s constituency has begun manipulating to participate in the election. Former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MPA Azad Ali Tabassum, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) ticketholder Sahi brothers, Ajmal Cheema of the Tareen group, former Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Tariq Mehmood Bajwa are likely to contest the election.
Preparations are being completed for the by-election in the PP-97 constituency of Haji Muhammad Ajmal Cheema, who was deposed from Chak Jhumra tehsil of Faisalabad. The ECP has appointed other officers including the district election commission in the PP-97 constituency of Faisalabad.
According to the notification issued, district election commissioner (DEC) Irfan Kausar has been posted as district returning officer. Basil Akram has been appointed as returning officer while Assistant Commissioner of Chak Jhumra Khawar Bashir and the deputy district education officer of the area have been appointed as assistant returning officers.
As per the schedule issued by the ECP, nomination papers for the by-elections of constituency PP-97 will be posted from June 4 to 7, scrutiny of nomination papers by June 11 and the final list of candidates will be posted on June 23.
After the release of the schedule by the ECP, the candidates of all major political parties started their liaison campaigns in the by-elections. The politics of Chak Jumra is mainly based on community. As this constituency is the largest constituency of the Jutt community, only the candidate of the Jutt community succeeds. The winning candidates in the last several elections are clear proof of this, except for the 2013 elections.
Azad Ali Tabassum of PML-N, Ali Afzal Sahi of PTI and Tariq Mahmood Bajwa of Pakistan People’s Party took part in the 2018 general elections. Chaudhry Ajmal Cheema was also present in the field as an independent candidate as he did not get a ticket from PTI. Contrary to all predictions, Ajmal Cheema was elected as an independent candidate by defeating Azad Ali Tabassum of PML-N and Ali Afzal Sahi of PTI. He later became part the Jahangir Tareen group, joined the PTI and remained part of the Punjab cabinet. In the 2018 general elections, Ajmal Cheema won with 42,273 votes while his opponent Ali Afzal Sahi got 37,932 votes. Azad Ali Tabassum of PML-N got 35,298 votes.
In the current situation, PTI will be content with Sahi brothers for by-elections, while Azad Tabassum and Ajmal Cheema may be the candidate for the PML-N. A public relations campaign has been launched by all candidates, and it will become clear in a few days who will be the candidate for which party in the elections.