Election 2018 marked the third time in a decade that the PPP has managed to win a large number of seats in the Sindh Assembly. With this winning streak, the PPP is perhaps the only political party in the Subcontinent that has been winning election over the last 50 years.
Since the party was formed in 1967, it has been contesting every election against its local rivals. Most of these rivals have earned tickets from different parties and alliances. Even in the 2018 elections, the PPP’s opponents formed the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) to give the party a tough time. This alliance, which largely comprised landowners, pirs and politicians who were formerly a part of the PPP, was defeated in the polls.
The GDA had similar intentions to the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) that had emerged in 1988 as an alliance against the PPP. Interestingly, both alliances had fielded more or less the same types of candidates who have feudal, pro-establishment mindsets. The only difference between the GDA and the IJI is that the former included Sindhi nationalist parties, which were directly and indirectly part of the alliance.
During local government elections in 2016, the PPP secured a mighty win in all parts of the province, except Karachi, defeating all its opponents on the local level. This compelled anti-PPP groups in Sindh to join hands and form a strong union. As a result, the Grand Democratic Alliance was created.
Members of the alliance began criticising the PPP government for its corrupt practices, bad governance, constant failure to complete development schemes and improper utilisation of the provincial budget. Most importantly, they criticised Asif Ali Zardari and his sister, Faryal Talpur, for Sindh’s woes.
Social media and the print media were used by anti-PPP groups to peddle their narrative before the elections. They criticised the PPP’s style of governance and their election campaign agendas. These tactics were merely an attempt to alter the sentiments of Sindh’s people and defeat the PPP.