‘Nine days wonder’: PML-N to concede Punjab on July 22

PTI’s victory turns the tables on the byzantine arithmetic of electables


RAMEEZ KHAN July 18, 2022
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz addressing a public gathering in Layyah on July 13, 2022. PHOTO: TWITTER/@SaimaFarooq

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LAHORE:

The PTI, after making inroads in Punjab in a landslide victory in Sunday’s provincial assembly by-polls, is now aiming to dethrone Hamza Shehbaz as the Punjab chief minister – a fait accompli that will get a legal imprimatur in the run-off election for the office on July 22 as ordered by the Supreme Court.

The PML-N, which rules both Punjab and the Centre, faced a humiliating defeat despite enjoying support from a mighty nine-party coalition.

Theoretically, the stars should have been more aligned for the PML-N given the fact that many of the independents, now with the PML-N, had actually won in the 2018 elections.

The PTI’s victory has not only dealt a blow to PML-N’s narrative of performance in Punjab but has also turned the tables on the politics of electables.

Read PML-N accepts results with 'open heart'

The chief minister’s elections, scheduled to be held on the apex court’s orders, will now see Hamza probably losing his office and Pervaiz Elahi’s ascension to power as CM Punjab.

Currently, the PML-N’s combined strength is 175 and with three more votes PML-N's total tally will rise to 178, while the PTI on its own will have a strength of 178, excluding the vote of estranged PTI MPA also the deputy speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari.

With 10 more votes of PML-Q, Elahi’s victory is certain.

The victory in the political heartland will throw the PML-N-led government in the Centre into throes of uncertainty as losing Punjab will mean having no government in any province of their own.

The PPP – a coalition partner – will nonetheless have its government in Sindh but the party leading coalition, PML-N, will have no provincial government, limiting its horizons practically only to the federal capital.

The new course will make things more complicated for the ruling alliance in the Centre to confront the PTI with power both in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Nevertheless, the PML-N was quick to express its willingness to play by Queensberry rules and accept the results with grace.

The party leaders put the blame on difficult financial decisions taken by the government at the Centre that brought on back-breaking inflation in the country.

A leader talking to The Express Tribune said two factors played an important role in PML-N’s defeats, explaining that besides the tough financial decisions, the second reason was the rejection of turncoats.

He said that the party has decided not to put blame on turncoats as it would further damage their reputation.

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