Mixed political signals



AFTER losing almost all by-elections held in Punjab, PTI has also received a major setback in Local Government polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the Ruling Party is in power since 2013.

No doubt, the Party gave tough fight but its candidates lost elections to rivals from different parties in most of the areas and JUI(F) has emerged as the largest Party in the latest polls.

According to the unofficial results, the JUI(F) is leading with 20 seats, followed by the ruling PTI (15), Awami National Party (7), PML-N (3) Jamaat-e-Islami (2) and PPP (1).

The result of the LG polls in KP is in line with the traditional pattern of voting in the history of the country where, mostly, voters preferred the opposition parties or new entrants in the hope that they would bring about a change in their life.

It is next to impossible for any party in power to satisfy all segments of the society and reaction of the voters in local, by-elections and general elections makes a difference.

The PTI, unlike others, has gracefully accepted the defeat, which is reminiscent of the sportsman spirit, and decided to analyze the factors that badly affected its performance in the local elections.

The overall performance of the party remained satisfactory in KP where it introduced a number of reforms and experiments, which are now being replicated in other provinces but the party wrongly thought that it can afford the luxury of ignoring the plight of the people and their grievances vis-à-vis unstoppable price-hike.

There might be a negligible percentage of the population that is not concerned over rising inflation but a majority is losing patience as incomes are static and essential expenditure is increasing alarmingly.

There might be other factors like local infighting and family/tribal links but it would be unfair not to acknowledge real concerns of the people about inflation and take remedial measures.

The outcome of the election should be a source of concern for PTI as in most of the areas voters prefer voting for the candidates of the ruling party in the hope that they would be in a better position to pursue developmental agenda by virtue of their affiliation with the ruling party.

The result of the KP polling is surely a morale booster for JUI(F) and ANP as it proved their resurgence in electoral politics of the province and reflected their organizational skills at the grass-roots levels. The trend shows what could be the behaviour of the voters in the next general election.

The performance of the two major political parties – PML(N) and PPP – was not enviable and they will have to enter into electoral alliances with their existing partners – JUI(F) and ANP – to make their presence felt in the province.

Irrespective of who got what in the latest elections, it is good that we will have a system in place to address problems of the people at their doorsteps and all LG bodies should get necessary resources without any discrimination and there should be no hurdle in the smooth delivery of service as all parties claim to be championing the cause of the people.

As for Punjab, there are clear indications that so far the PTI could not make inroads in the bastion of political power and influence of PML(N) as it has not been able to match the scale and level of developmental activities undertaken by its rival when in power.

PPP too could not manage to win any seat in by-elections but the number of votes it secured especially in Lahore and Khanewal by-elections was impressive.

Based on its performance, Co-Chairperson of the PPP Asif Ali Zardari claimed that he had just stepped in Lahore and he would face their (PML-N) pitch and bowling and would go for a sixer.

Presently, major parties are marginalized in one province each, which is not good for national unity and cohesion and, therefore, they should get a free hand to strengthen their roots in all the four provinces.

Mr.Zardari also claimed that he was approached (he did not explain who) to suggest a solution to the existing political situation but he told them that first the present government should be sent packing.

His remarks suggest that the PPP wants an undemocratic exit of the government, which is in sharp contrast to the claims repeatedly made by the party that it wants a change while remaining strictly within the ambit of the Constitution and democratic spirit.


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