BAHAWALNAGAR - The PML-Q has nominated Syed Muhammad Asghar as its candidate from NA-188 constituency from Bahawalnagar, following his defection from the PML-N which he joined last year.

Shah's desertion not only deprived the PML-N from an electable but it also exposed rift in Bahawalnagar chapter of the party. However, the defection made the choice easy for PML-N MAN Khadim Kaluka to stay in the party as he and Shah were vying for the party nomination for same constituency. But Shah's defection has removed the apprehensions of Kaluka who was thinking that the PML-N would nominate Shah from his constituency. A source close to Kaluka said that in the current situation there was no reason for Kaluka to leave the PML-N.

Most of the area of NA-188 is rural where family influence counts a lot and a tough contest is expected in the coming election between Syed Asghar Shah of the PML-Q, Khadim Husain Kaluka of PML-N and Shoukat Ali Laleka of the PTI.  Syed Asghar Shah, who got elected MNA twice in 1990 and 2002 respectively, belongs to Syed clan, an influential political clan of the area that wields considerable vote bank in the constituency.

Shah was defeated by Khadim Kaluka in 2008 due to a family rift that divided the support of his clan. However, in previous elections the Syeds used to have two electable from adjacent  constituencies of NA-188 and NA-189 and now, with their in-fighting is settled, they are expected to regain their political powers.

Following the agreement between the PPP and the PML-Q about fielding joint candidate in the elections, things appeared to be bright for Shah.

Khadim Kaluka is also an influential political figure of the area and his Kaluka clan is the source of his political power and success. He served as the district council chairman in 1987 and got elected as member Punjab Assembly in 1985, 1988, 1990 and 2002. He was made zakat and ushar minister by Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi in 2002.

After joining the PML-N, he contended for MNA as well as MPA from the PP-277 and won from both constituencies but he relinquished his provincial assembly seat.   His father Mian Nazar Muhammad had also served as MPA in 1965.

He is a feudal and it is said about him that people vote him out of fear. People believe that they will be victimised, if they do not vote for Kaluka.

The chief rivals of Kalukas, the Gadhokas, are no longer in politics, leaving an open play ground for Kalukas. Political analysts say that if the Gadhokas had not left politics, the Kaluka family would not have victimised people with impunity.

The third force in NA-188 is Shoukat Ali Laleka, a cousin of former federal minister late Abdul Sattar Lalika.

Laleka managed to make his way to the Punjab Assembly in 1990 and 1997. He contested the 2002 election from the same constituency under the banner of the PPP and lost to Khadim Kaluka with a margin of about 8,000 votes. He joined the PTI after its October 30 public gathering in Lahore.

A tough competition is expected between these three candidates in the election.