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PPP terms Punjab results ‘manipulated’

May 13, 2013

LAHORE, May 12: The PPP sees the results of the May 11 polls in Punjab as ‘manipulated’ and has vowed to come up with evidence to prove its allegation.

“There was total rigging. We are taking feedback from our candidates in the province and will present the evidence before the media soon,” PPP secretary general Sardar Latif Khosa told Dawn on Sunday.

However, most of the losing PPP candidates privately blame loadshedding and inflation as the major causes of their rout in Punjab.

The PPP could manage to get only one National Assembly seat in Punjab, according to unofficial results. In 2008, it had won over 50 seats in the province, most of them in south Punjab.

“There has been a complete failure on the part of the Election Commission which failed to stop use of the state machinery by the PML-N to rig the elections,” Mr Khosa said, adding that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf was also complaining about rigging.

He said prior to the election the PPP had brought to the notice of the ECP numerous instances of violation of the code of conduct committed by the PML-N but it never bothered to address them.

To a question about whether the PPP was going to reject the results in Punjab, the former governor said: “We have not decided yet.”

Mr Khosa said the party (PML-N) which had won most seats was not even expecting ‘such a huge victory’ in Punjab.

PPP information secretary Qamar Zaman Kaira said the party was assessing ‘what went wrong’ in Saturday’s elections.

Lahore PPP president Samina Ghurki expressed her surprise over the ‘phenomenal’ election turnout. “It appeared that angels cast the votes at the last minute to give victory to our opponents,” she said.

Ms Ghurki, who lost to Sohail Shaukat Butt of the PML-N in NA 130, said rigging could not be ruled out.

In background interviews, some defeated PPP candidates from Lahore blamed loadshedding as a major reason for their defeat. “There are complaints of rigging but loadshedding has cost us a large number of seats in the province,” said a candidate who had lost a National Assembly seat with a huge margin.

A PPP candidate from the south said: “We are disappointed to see the results in the southern belt because we were expecting a good number of seats from here because of the issue of south Punjab which the PPP had advocated well.”

He said the PTI factor had also dented the PPP vote bank.