No matter what one might think about the PTI, there can be no doubt that it is a change-agent wherever it is active. For the first time in decades a party has emerged that appears to sing from a different songbook and is attractive to voters young and old. It is also fresh fields as far as defections go, and there is no shortage of faces, some familiar and others not, that have shifted allegiances to the new(ish) party in play. The party that they are defecting from in the majority is the PPP, which having had a drubbing in the 2013 elections and essentially reduced to rump in Sindh, close to its heartland — is becoming a shadow of its former self.
The latest to jump ship and leave the PPP hail from Punjab and are led by the former minister of state for information, Samsam Bokhari. He is joined by a number of lawmakers from Okara — which is the home of current PPP Punjab President Mian Manzoor Wattoo. Their reasons for defection had a familiar ring to them. They are feeling redundant that the co-chairmen of the PPP were either at odds or asleep at the wheel and there were grave reservations regarding Mr Wattoo. They wondered, given the seeming somnolence of their leadership, how they were to retain their political relevance, and a change of allegiance to a party whose leader is demonstrably awake and at the helm even if he is steering a somewhat erratic course is an attractive option. Nothing is forever and the PPP is currently in decline, the dynastic engine having run out of steam. It appears that the children of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari still need time before they could be ready to lead the party in an effective manner. The PPP defeat in the last general election was the start of a continuing slide which is accelerated by the fact that there is a very-much-afloat boat in the form of the PTI to jump into. More jumpers to follow.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2015.
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