In contrast to prevalent fears of the flood obstructing the by-election voting in Punjab and Sindh, the only constituency affected was Rajanpur’s PP-247.
Luckily, only four polling stations, namely Cikri 1, Cikri 2, Matkhund and Geelawala, were located in the flood-hit areas.
Voter turnout in these polling stations was around 40 per cent, whereas officials believe that the floods only caused a one-to-two percent decrease in the turnout.
A total of 8,100 votes were cast in these four polling stations. To facilitate voters, the government provided boats, which were regularly providing transport for people. Many voters had also made their own arrangements.
Meanwhile, in Dera Ghazi Khan, four tribal union councils in PP-243 had a total of 10 polling stations that had previously been gravely affected by floods. The residents of the areas had been relocated from their houses and moved to relief camps and safe places.
However, the situation in these union councils had since stabilised. Voters of this constituency faced no major hurdles in reaching their polling stations.
Surprisingly, there was a 63 per cent overall voter turnout in the four union councils.
Weather takes a toll
It was believed that torrential rains and floods would impede voting, but it was the hot and humid weather that forced a scant voter turnout in some areas.
Temperature soared to 35 degrees Celsius in Faisalabad where people were voting in the NA-83 and PP-51 constituencies, whereas a high percentage of humidity was also recorded during the polls, due to which a lacklustre trend of polling was observed.
A dismal 18 per cent turnout was observed in both constituencies.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2013.