SHABQADAR: Now that local government polls are finally over, candidates crowd offices of the returning officers, anxious about official results.
However, till the victors are officially announced on June 7, the current vote count is all the candidates can hold on to.
As per the results so far, Awami National Party has won 14 out of 49 district council seats in Charsadda, while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidates have won 11 of the 48 seats they fielded candidates for. Qaumi Watan Party followed with eight seats while Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Jamaat-e-Islami have won seven and three berths respectively. Independent candidates have won four seats.
The tripartite alliance won 21 out of 48 general seats while polling on one was postponed due to the absence of symbols on ballot papers and results of one seat have not been announced. If four independents join hands with the alliance then the total would rise to 25, giving it a single majority.
The alliance had nominated reserved seat candidates under a formula; this is likely to be of benefit after official results are announced.
ANP and JUI-F can possibly form the government in Charsadda tehsil. Yet, QWP has been elected on four seats out of 12 each in Shabqadar and Tangi tehsils, giving it enough seats to form a tehsil government in Tangi.
However, in Shabqadar, QWP and PTI both won an equal number of seats. If QWP joins hands with ANP and JUI-F at the district level, that may benefit it in forming the Shabqadar tehsil government.
In the second scenario, if PTI joins hands with QWP and JI, their total strength at the Shabqadar tehsil level can reach 22. If independents join hands, then this unlikely group might leave behind the ANP and JUI-F. This way, QWP, PTI and JI will have enough seats to outdo the alliance of ANP and JUI-F.
In Tangi, the victory may be QWP’s while in Shabqadar tehsil both PTI and QWP can wrangle a win. If they fall into step with JI and independents, then looking at their past patterns based on May 13 elections, PTI is likely to opt for the control of the district government, leaving QWP with Shabqadar and Tangi, covering the NA-8 constituency.
However, the previous partnership of QWP and PTI in the provincial government suggests the two might not come together easily. Nevertheless, it is a game of numbers and in politics everything can be possible.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2015.