LAHORE, Dec 11: Deliberations have begun in the PML-Q camp to review its alliance with the PPP after Manzoor Wattoo again contacted some potential Q candidates, including a minister, persuading them to contest the next election from the PPP platform.
The PML-Q leadership is not happy on reports that Mr Wattoo has attempted to woo its three potential candidates – State Minister Rana Asif Tauseef (Faisalabad), former federal minister for textile Mushtaq Ali Cheema (Faisalabad), and former MNA Asghar Shah (Bahawalnagar).
The Q leadership wonders as to why Mr Wattoo is still throwing bait to Q ‘electables’ despite assurances by President Zardari to Chaudhry Shujaat Husain that he (Wattoo) would only consume his energies in wooing disgruntled PML-N and PTI leaders.
A source privy to the development told Dawn that some fissures had emerged in the PPP-PMLQ alliance after Mr Wattoo’s latest move. “President Zardari had categorically stopped Wattoo from contacting the Q electables and asked him to develop a better understanding with the Q leadership, Chuadhry Shujaat and Pervaiz Elahi. Why he is still not following the direction of his boss? He must have the patronage of someone in this regard,” he argued.
“Even the Punjab PPP leaders and some ministers in their party meetings say that Wattoo is a good choice of Zardari to ‘contain’ the PML-Q and give tough time to the PML-N at the same time,” the source said.
PML-Q’s State Minister Rana Asif Tauseef told Dawn that Mr Wattoo had called on him at his residence and asked him to contest from the PPP platform. “But I told him that my family has long association with the Chaudhrys and I will remain with them through thick and thin,” he said.
A PML-Q leader asked whether Mr Wattoo had been given the Punjab PPP command to ‘strengthen the PPP-Q alliance or break’ it. He said it would have been better had Mr Zardari installed a person in Punjab who along with the Chaudhrys could maneuver things here and did not let the PML-N get the ‘desired results’.
“I think the matters are heading to the point where if Mr Wattoo does not stop going against our interests we will ask Mr Zardari to have him replaced for better coordination with the Q ahead of general elections,” he said.
On the other hand, both the PML-Q and PPP committees headed by Moonis Elahi and Wattoo, respectively, for finalizing their recommendations on the seat-adjustment in Punjab appear to be reluctant to meet again.
In their last meeting about one-and-a-half month ago both leaders had agreed to field joint potential candidates of the alliance on all constituencies of Punjab.
Both parties agreed that the PPP or Q would have a claim on the seat where their candidate stood runner-up in the 2008 election. However, in case the runner up belonging either to PPP and Q has switched over to other party, they will field a strong candidate with mutual consultation.
As the general elections are near both the PPP and Q circles are of the view that if both parties could not develop better understanding in fielding ‘consensus candidates’ in Punjab, the alliance will not have good chance of shattering the dream of PML-N to rule the centre and the province again.
A spokesman for Wattoo said: “We feel that any loss to the PML-Q is in fact the loss of the PPP. We will jointly contest the coming general elections. We have also made an alliance with the Sunni Ittehad Council and we will together surprise the PML-N.”