Twists and turns in race for the top slot

Report SN Peerzada
BOONI, Aug 29: With the oath-taking of the newly-elected members of the district, tehsil and village councils on Saturday, leg pulling and maneuvering for the coveted post of district nazim has also entered its final stage in Chitral.
A cursory look at the history of what tricks the candidates for the district nazim used to woo the members to vote for them since 2002 showed an interesting reading.
peerIn the 2002 elections, the district nazim candidates considered it enough to host the councilors in their houses or hotels and fete them different dishes for many days. On suspicion that their rivals might bribe the councilors, some of the candidates also kept many of the members and potential voters ‘hostage’ at their houses for many days. They also used the carrot and stick tactics to woo the councilors to vote for them.
Then came the 2006 elections after which the candidates for the nazim post started using money and bought the councilors for four thousand to 13,000 rupees each. It is also said that the minimum paid for a single vote was three thousand for which a woman member sold her vote while the maximum was about 13,000 rupees which was taken by a Kisan seat member to vote for the nazim candidate of a party. A group of five councilors also sold themselves for a collective amount of 45,000 rupees – Rs9,000 each.
With the local government elections 2015, there has been a change in the treatment of the councilors by the district and tehsil nazim candidates. It is said the councillors have been treated and looked after at the Governor Cottage, a hotel and a religious seminary in the Chitral town for many days. A marked change has been seen this time around as instead of individual the members of many political parties are ready for a sell-off as a whole irrespective of the ideology of their respective parties. The only difference is that instead of cash every party is looking for vested interest.
On the other hand, the local government elections have also brought a positive change in the thinking of the people of Chitral. In the 2002 elections, as many as 16 of the members in the 24-member District Council were taxi drivers. In 2006, the number of drivers in the house decreased to 10. In the 2015 elections, 80 per cent of the winners belonged to the profession of teaching – retired government teachers or those working in private schools.