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Is contesting from five seats in the elections the best decision for Imran?

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Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Central Punjab President Abdul Aleem Khan announced on Sunday that PTI chief Imran Khan will be contesting from five seats in the 2018 general elections, 3 from Punjab and 2 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). While speaking to reporters in Lahore, Aleem Khan also said that PTI has shortlisted its candidates for the general elections and the election campaign would be launched very soon.

He told the reporters that PTI is working on its membership campaign and registration of new members will be complete in the next 90 days. Speaking about Ahad Cheema’s corruption case, Aleem said that Shehbaz Sharif was in hot water and his fate would be the same as that of his brother Nawaz Sharif. Aleem was hopeful that the new leaders that have joined PTI have made the party strong enough to contest in a better position.

Considering these facts, PTI has adopted a two-pronged approach against PML-N, pressurizing them with the help of NAB and corruption references, and dismantling the party from within by approaching their leaders to shift loyalties. They are expected to give PML-N a very tough time in the coming few months.

The PTI leader also predicted that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) would dismantle with the passage of time. He said that PTI will take it shares in the Senate and was in contacts with the leaders of other political parties, hinting towards the independent candidates of PML-N who will contest in the Senate elections.

Candidates usually contest from more than one constituency to ensure that they will become part of the National Assembly (NA) in the upcoming elections. Imran Khan’s move to contest in five constituencies might be seen as a sign of weakness or insecurity by his rivals but some political experts believe that it serves another bigger purpose. A position of strength after the general elections helps in persuading independent candidates to join you.

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It is generally believed among political circles that if a party wins the general elections, they have a greater chance of winning the by-elections. PTI, on the other hand, has not been very lucky in the by-elections. Imran Khan contested on four seats in the 2013 general elections: NA-1, 56, 71 and 122, among which he won 3, lost in NA-122, and retained his seat in NA-56 but PTI lost the other two seats in the by-elections. Similarly, after the disqualification of Jahangir Tareen, PTI lost the NA-154 Lodhran by-elections.

Some media analysts believe that PTI has finally changed its tactics after their defeat in the Lodhran by-elections. PTI leadership has often been accused of its banality, triteness and lack of innovation by its rivals and the media but their new tactics have been praised.

PTI is widely considered to be a one-man party with Imran at the center. Contesting from 5 seats appears to be a lack of faith of the PTI leadership in other candidates to secure seats. Another announcement made by Aleem Khan that PTI is in touch with other parties for the 3rd March general elections are a cause of worry for the PML-N. After Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification as the president of PML-N, all candidates nominated by him were declared independent.

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The whole fiasco has created a huge amount of anxiety in PML-N as the independent candidates will not be bound by the party and can shift their loyalties at any time. Massive horse trading is expected in the Senate elections. Aleem Khan’s statement gave the impression that PTI is also busy buying the loyalties of PML-N’s Senate candidates. Reports suggest that PML-N is taking oaths from the Senate candidates that they will remain loyal to PML-N after winning.

Speaking about Ahad Cheema’s corruption case, Aleem said that Shehbaz Sharif was in hot water and his fate would be the same as that of his brother Nawaz Sharif.

Some media analysts believe that PTI has finally changed its tactics after their defeat in the Lodhran by-elections. PTI leadership has often been accused of its banality, triteness and lack of innovation by its rivals and the media but their new tactics have been praised. They have also written a letter to the ECP to bar bureaucrats who are part of the protest against Ahad Cheema from becoming part of the 2018 general elections.

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The local administration plays a major role in every election and a PML-N loyalist bureaucracy will make things harder for PTI. Considering these facts, PTI has adopted a two-pronged approach against PML-N, pressurizing them with the help of NAB and corruption references, and dismantling the party from within by approaching their leaders to shift loyalties. They are expected to give PML-N a very tough time in the coming few months.


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1 COMMENT

  1. It’s so naive to think that the contest is between PTI and PML(N). The actual battle lines are drawn between the establishment and Nawaz Sharif. PTI, judiciary, NAB etc are mere pawns being used to corner the Sharifs. The strategy is to demolish PML(N) and try to create a space for others including PTI and eventually have a more “controllable’ government.

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