First it was South Punjab Soba Mahaz and now it is emergence of jeep group that further weaken the PML-N in South Punjab. Now PTI has the clear edge in South Punjab to sweep the election in this region. Only a miracle can revive the PML-N chances in South Punjab to win handful of seats.
Ch. Nisar Ali Khan choose Jeep as election symbol and so the 10 PML-N candidates from South Punjab. The question is whether it is just an incident or a conscious move to form a group of independent candidates and weaken PML-N. Some see it as a strategy of PML-N to ward off the pressures and to contest the election without any hurdles. Whatever the reason is and whoever is behind this, one thing is clear that PML-N is in crisis trouble here.
PML-N received big blow on Saturday when its 10 candidates refused to contest elections on PML-N ticket. Four national assembly and 6 provincial assembly candidates from three districts of South Punjab Muzafar Ghar, DG Khan and Rajan Pur ditched PML-N at the last moment. Similar things happened in 2002 when many strong candidates returned the tickets on last day and decided to contest as independent candidates. It literally left PML-N in helpless situation as PML-N cannot allot party ticket to any other candidate.
Pakistani politics is so unpredictable like London weather and Pakistani cricket team. It can surprise you in a big way. PML-N gets another big shock on Saturday when its candidates returned the party tickets and decided to run as independent candidates on the election symbol of Jeep.
PML-N candidates on NA-181 Malik Sultan Hinjra Muzafar Ghar, NA-190 Sardar Amjad Farooq Khosa DG Khan, NA-193 Sardar Sher Gorchani Rajan Pur, NA-194 Dr. Hafez Dareshak Rajan Pur and 6 candidates of provincial assembly decided against contesting election on 25 July. PML-N was confident to win these constituencies but left with no official candidate in these constituencies. Sardar Amjad Farooq is not contesting on the symbol of Jeep.
These candidates will contest against PTI and PPP candidates and if they win they will join the next coalition government. Three out four candidates won the elections on PML-N ticket in 2013. PML-N won two national assembly seats from Muzafar Ghar in 2013. It won three seats from DG khan and both seats from Rajan Pur. There are 15 national and 30 provincial assembly seats in DG Khan Division’s four districts. PML-N will be lucky if can win 5 national and 10 provincial assembly seats.
The jeep group can win 3 national and 8 provincial assembly seats from this division. PTI is hopeful to win 5 national and 12 provincial assembly seats. Jeep group will be in a position to broker a better deal with the largest party or with a coalition.
Khalid Bhatti ACE News election cell