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GUJRAT, Dec 5: Disturbed over what they called ‘erosion’ in ranks and file of the PPP’s Gujrat chapter, loyal workers have asked Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to intervene in the party’s affairs in Gujrat by constituting a fact-finding committee.

The current wave of resentment among the party locally is due to the recent defections by loyalists. No ceremony was held to mark the party’s foundation day on Nov 30 in the entire district. This came as a surprise to many loyalists as four of the party’s legislators had been given federal ministerial portfolios and one inducted as a provincial minister during the party’s previous government.

The party had to suffer a huge loss recently when a strong local group defected to the PML-N.

Abdul Razzaq Saleemi, PPP’s district information secretary in Gujrat, has written a letter to Bilawal Bhutto to brief him on the situation of party’s affairs in Gujrat. He told Dawn he had asked the chairman to get rid of the “elite mafia” that had been exploiting party workers.

He said he also asked the chairman to constitute a fact-finding committee in Gujrat to ascertain why the party had been facing consistent erosion in its ranks.

He said the local PPP old guard had been leaving the party, which should have been taken into account by the leadership. He said he had also asked the chairman to ask former legislators and ticket-holders from the district to come forward and contest local government elections to boost the morale of party workers here.

The Pagganwala family, considered an old guard of the party in Gujrat since its foundation, also registered its protest over alleged silence of the party leadership in Gujrat as well as Punjab’s organisational body on the current situation.

Mian Fakhar Pagganwala, a former district general secretary of the PPP whose wife Sameena was the federal parliamentary secretary during the previous government, also urged Bilawal to take notice of what he termed “criminal silence” of the district president over defections.

“I have best regards for district PPP President Tahir Zaman Kaira, but keeping in view his poor performance I demand his immediate resignation or he should improve his performance,” Fakhar said. He said party workers were ready to contest the local government elections from NA-105 area under the guidance of Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar.

Sources said the party workers from NA-104 were in an awkward situation since Nawabzada Ghazanfar Ali Gull, the party stalwart who was supposed to contest the LG polls from that constituency, had almost suspended his political activities in the wake of his family joining the PML-N.

Most PPP workers from NA-104 had allegedly either started developing contacts with PML-N MNA Nawabzada Mazhar Ali Khan, the elder brother of Gull, or were weighing options to join the PML-Q or PTI. This would not augur well for the party’s future in that constituency.

Talking to Dawn, Nawabzada Gull Dawn termed the party’s deteriorating position in Gujrat a result of its alliance with the PML-Q. He said he had warned the party leadership of such a situation.

When asked why he had kept silent over this, he said everybody in the party knew about his opposition to the Chaudhrys. He said he would directly or indirectly support whoever was in a position to defeat the PML-Q in the current circumstances.