Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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    Cut and thrust of politics in Chitral

    Cut and thrust of politics in Chitral

    If we concede to conventional wisdom on political trends in Chitral they are as have been before the local bodies election but the cut-and-thrust of politics currently touches upon the shifting loyalties of people with parties is under discussion among political activists in Chitral and displeasure of senior party workers.

    Elections are more local in local bodies than general elections, and glaringly complex in understanding voting dynamics in rural and urban settings. This is also the case with rural areas where an area has turned out to be in the configuration of a city have different trends of voting behavior than other areas adjacent to it. One can see a different trend and approach to voting in district headquarter (known as town) in lower Chitral than adjacent villages to it, as the case may be, in district headquarter of upper Chitral than the peripheries.

    The socio-economic and political dynamics i.e., social relationships, sense of attachment with a clan/tribe, clientelism, religious appeals conditioned by internal and external factors, and ideological affiliation of people with parties determine voting shifts in this election like before. Rural configuration, social makeup of population and nature of elections like local bodies in Chitral, however, conform social relationships and clan denominations predominate other determinants of voting behavior this year.

    Service delivery or performance of a party or representative (s) is also an important determinant of voting shift in favor of or against that party and candidate (s) representing a particular party in this election. Besides party leadership at local level, in keeping workers attached to it, and bringing independent supporters to polls for voting has also a critical role of how floating vote is polled. Notwithstanding these factors the personal vote bank of a contestant also adds to his votes. The representation of women in LB elections, not in voting, remains to be limited as it was before.

    Coalition politics, at micro-level may puzzle local bodies election, has been a powerful strategy to shift voting results as happened in the general election in 2018. The role of conspiracy theories has been critical in shifting voting trends during elections may not be as powerful in local bodies. The former strategy however may have a role in different areas differently to change voting trends and preferences of the people particularly in lower parts of Chitral, and in Mulkhov and Torkhov valleys in district upper Chitral.

    To sum up, cut-and-thrust politics of local bodies election in Chitral as it draws nearer the charged environment continues and politically active youth in the area ratchet up their affiliations and continue to influence shift and re-shift of votes largely determined by socio-economic and political dynamics of voting behavior in district Chitral. The social relationship and clan denominations seems to have a dominant role in shifting voting preferences of the people in local bodies election this year in Chitral, but it also largely depends on the contestant how to reap this crop better compliant with party support base.

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