LAHORE, Dec 15: Two disgruntled MPAs from Okara and Khanewal have reportedly conveyed to the leadership that they may not switch loyalties if the party’s MNAs of their constituencies -- Samsam Bokhari and Iftikhar Nazir – accept the PML-N offer to join it.

MPAs Javed Allauddin and Jamil Shah on Saturday told this to a group of PPP Punjab legislators who were authorised by the leadership to contact the MPAs willing to defect to the PML-N or Imran Khan’s PTI.

“Both Samsam Bokhari and Iftikhar Nazir are weighing the PML-N’s offer to join it. We will wait till their decision. As long as these two MNAs are with the PPP, we cannot stay with it,” a legislator involved in talks with them quoted them as having said.

He said the PML-N contacted Bokhari and Nazir after learning that they had developed differences with the leadership over certain issues. “Let’s see whether they pick the PML-N bait or not,” he added.

Mr Bokhari’s personal staff officer did not get the call of this reporter through. The PPP negotiating team is uncertain about the return of MPAs Nishat Ahmad Daha, Rana Babar Hussain (Khanewal), Rai Shah Jehan (Nankana) and Malik Abbas Raan (Multan) to the party folds. It is hoping against hope that it may retain Kamil Ali Gujjar and Rana Munawar Hussain (Sargodha) and Ahmad Hussain Deharr (Multan).

Malik Abbas Raan (Multan), who has indicated his intention to join the PTI, told Dawn on Saturday that some 15 to 20 more PPP MPAs were in contact with the PML-N and the PTI and they were considering switching over because of the federal government’s failure to give them grants/funds worth Rs30 million for the development works in their constituencies and award jobs in the petroleum ministry.

Mr Raan further said the PML-N had primarily targeted the strong candidates of the PPP from the south Punjab as it would go to any extent to secure seats from the under-privileged belt.

He also claimed that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf was going to meet the PPP Punjab MPAs on Sunday (today) in Lahore. “I am sure that not more than 60 legislators will attend the meeting. And it will help the premier gauge the level of loyalty of the 107 legislators in Punjab,” Mr Raan said.

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