The PTI cut a sorry figure when the nomination papers of its candidate Jamshed Iqbal Cheema and his covering candidate were found to be invalid. The party was thus out of the ring before the start of the fight. This has raised questions. Was it a drama staged by PTI to wriggle out of an election the party knew it was bound to lose anyway? In case the PTI was serious about fighting the election, how come Mr Cheema, who is also special assistant to the prime minister, turned out to be ignorant about how to fill the nomination papers? In a country where a political activist nominated for NA membership can’t correctly fill in his nomination papers, how come common people are expected to cast votes on EVMs that they have never seen before?
The PPP has gained most from the elections. Despite a low voter turnout, PPP candidate Aslam Gill bagged 32,313 votes compared to a meagre over 5,000 in 2018. This has naturally raised the morale of the PPP leaders and workers. Former President Zardari has observed that the PPP is reborn in Punjab while an elated Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has claimed that the coming era belongs to PPP. There is a need to avoid over optimism as sensible generlisations cannot be made on the basis of the results of elections in a single constituency. Various factors are responsible for the rise in PPP votes. The PPP leadership could afford to heavily invest material and human resources in a single constituency. In a straight fight between the PML-N and PPP, some of the voters from the anti-PML-N parties like the PTI, TahirulQadri’s PAT, and TLP are also likely to have voted for the PPP. This may not happen in general elections.
PML-N candidate Shaista Pervez Malik has been elected MNA. The party has won the seat for the fourth time in succession. This appears to be a big achievement. There is however a need on the part of the PML-N to realise the implications of a colossal come down in its votes. Compared to 2018 election when PML-N received about 90,000 votes this time it got only over 46,000 i.e. about 43,000 votes less than in 2018. Is the party losing its voters?